I barely know what to write any more about these defeats. The Cubs' 6-0 loss to the White Sox was about as listless an effort as I have seen in a Cubs team since 2006.
Three times in the first six innings, the Cubs had a runner on third base with less than two out. And three times, that runner stood there, unable to score. Get a couple of those guys home, and the dribbling of runs -- one here, two there -- by the White Sox might not have happened.
This team is walking around as if it's already defeated. Which, perhaps, it is. Now, I'm usually the one saying, "It's still early!" And, there is still more than half a season remaining, 90 games as of today, and 50 wins in those 90 games -- a .556 percentage, not unattainable -- would make 85. In this year's Comedy Central, that might still take it. The Brewers lost 7-0 today to a guy making his major league debut -- see, the Cubs aren't the only team that guys like that make look silly -- and the Cardinals lost to the Twins 6-2 with the newly acquired Mark DeRosa going 0-for-3 (hooray!). Thus the Cubs still remain only 3.5 games out of first place, heading into a series in Pittsburgh, a place where they have gone 11-7 since 2007.
Getting Aramis Ramirez back will not fix this team. He'll help, but he likely won't be 100% for most of, if not all of, the rest of the season and thus the Cubs need another bat. I have to believe Jim Hendry is working his cellphone overtime trying to find one, if for this reason alone: he's trying to save his job. The 2009 Cubs were, in my opinion, poorly constructed to begin with and with absolutely no depth to help out with injuries -- do you think the Cubs could have used Reed Johnson the last two days? Kosuke Fukudome can't hit lefthanders at all. Including today: 4-for-20. Jake Fox has come back to Earth -- 0-for-8 the last two days against the lefties he's supposed to crush (he did draw a walk against John Danks, and had a nice at-bat, one of the few the Cubs had all day).
About Carlos Zambrano's antics -- well, I don't think he was throwing at DeWayne Wise, do you? He had just allowed Chris Getz to steal home by throwing a ball away on the previous pitch, and knowing Carlos, he was steaming on the inside and just threw a ball kind of wherever he wanted, and it wound up on Wise's body. Incidentally, I realize plate umpire Brian Runge was just trying to get Carlos out of the way, but he put his hand on Z's back. Isn't this what Paul Schrieber had to apologize to Magglio Ordonez earlier this year for doing? The game, unfortunately, was well in the Sox' hands by then -- 3-0, on its way to being 5-0 in that inning -- and I think Z was simply letting his frustration get to him.
No one hit today, particularly with runners on base, so it would be unfair of me to single out Milton Bradley. But Bradley didn't look good striking out twice, and I repeat what I said the other day, trying to be fair here: I simply don't think the Chicago Cubs and Milton Bradley are a good fit. He told Paul Sullivan of the Tribune that he doesn't crave attention, and would rather do his job and just go home. That's great, but the Cubs don't afford him that luxury. This is a place where attention comes with the job. As a couple of people here have suggested, perhaps the pressure put on players and managers here because the team hasn't won in 100 years is too much for any individual to bear. I don't know what the answer is to that, and I'm not sure anyone does.
What I do know is that this team doesn't appear built to win the way it's currently constructed. Jim Hendry can fix that. There's still time. Go do it, Jim. At 3.5 games out, the division can still be taken.
As I noted in the preview post, I left in the 6th inning to sign, along with Kasey Ignarski, copies of "Cubs By The Numbers" at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. As a result, I was treated to the last three innings with Pat & Ron. They began discussing the spelling of Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya's name. Ron couldn't quite get it. Then the name reminded Santo, somehow, of the campfire folk song "Kumbaya". If you didn't hear it, Santo started singing "Kumbaya". Pat was nearly rendered speecheless.
It's been that kind of year. Let's hope the baseball improves, or we're going to get more of that.