Thanks to Maura Johnston for noticing that “Around The Horn”‘s J.A. Adande has chosen to take advantage of the Tribune Corp.’s “Employee Voluntary Separation Program”, and shall be taking his leave from the Los Angeles Times.

It might be a tad premature to suggest that Alfonso Soriano sign up as well, but the Cubs seemed more Lifeless than Larry last night, dropping a 8-1 decision to the Mets after a 3 hour rain delay. A few more outings like last night, and Jorge Sosa will cost John Maine a spot on the All-Star Team. This afternoon at Shea, Jason Vargas has allowed just 1 run over the first five innings, with Chicago leading, 1-0. Carlos Gomez, Ruben Gotay, Ramon Castro and Julio Franco (starting at third) are all in the Mets lineup, as Willie Randolph is presumably resting some of his megastars… so they’ll be fully prepared to talk about the Subway Series being no-big-deal.

(UPDATE : Cubs 5, Mets 1 – Angel Pagan followed a 4th inning RBI double with a two run HR to lleft off Vargas in the 6th. Shortly afterwards, Aramis Ramirez hit a liner just above the left field fence to give the Cubbies a 4 run lead.)

David Pinto suggested yesterday that Houston’s Hunter Pence is more than making up for the absence of Willy Tavares with his recent tear. With all due respect to Mr. Musings, I think that’s damning Pence with faint praise. He’s hit 4 HR’s since being called up — a game tying 3 run blast on Tuesday, the game winner in last night’s 2-1 defeat of San Francisco —- and having seen him hit a few tape measure shots earlier this spring in Round Rock, I’ll submit the Astros’ chances in the NL West would’ve improved dramatically had Pence been given the job after spring training.

Congrats to Death Wish on achieving that modern rarity, the complete game loss.

Your Thursday Afternoon Mound Duel : Fausto Carmona (Not Glue) getting the better of Minnesota’s Johan Santana, as the Indians lead the Twins, 2-0 in the top of the 8th. A 2-run blast by Cleveland’s Victor Martinez broke the scoreless tie in the home half of the 7th inning.