Holy crap, that was bad.
When you witness a loss as awful as the Cubs' 18-1 loss to the Brewers, you have to laugh. Doing otherwise is just too painful. And, know that some baseball history was set last night -- not the kind you'd necessarily want as a Cubs fan, but history nonetheless:
- The 26 hits allowed to the Brewers tied a franchise record. Oddly enough, it was set against another Milwaukee team -- the Milwaukee Braves, who had 26 hits against the Cubs and blasted them 23-10 in the first game of a doubleheader on September 2, 1957.
- It was only the eighth time since 1900 that the Cubs lost a game by 17 or more runs; the last time was May 20, 1996 to the Braves in Atlanta, also an 18-1 defeat. The last time the Cubs lost by this many runs at Wrigley Field was September 4, 1988, 17-0 to the Reds.
- The Cubs had four doubles and no other hits. Having at least that many doubles with no other hits has been accomplished only one other time in Cubs history: in the first game of a DH on June 29, 1941 against the Pirates. The Cubs lost that game 8-2. The major league record for such things is nine, set by the Braves against the Giants on August 18, 1998.
- The Cubs have lost six in a row and been outscored 63-17 in the six games. In Alan Trammell's brief, 0-3 stint filling in for Lou, the Cubs were outscored 31-13.
- On the Wrigley Field scoreboard, normally yellow numbers are posted at the bottom of the board to indicate team hits. As seen above, the scoreboard guys don't have any yellow numbers larger than 25 -- they had to use a white 26 to indicate the Brewers' record-tying number of hits.
Well, that's about enough of that. The game looked as if it were going to be completely different -- both pitchers had three quick and efficient innings, Randy Wells only allowing one hit through the first three.
By the time the carnage had gotten through the top of the seventh, fans hung around to hear Illinois football coach Ron Zook sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" (badly -- really, it's time to retire the awful tradition of "guest" conductors and just rotate it between the Cubs' radio & TV broadcasters) and then there was a mass exodus. By the time Brewers relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman had his first at-bat in nine years (also shown on the scoreboard photo; he's the #51 batting. He struck out), about 90% of the crowd had headed for home. There couldn't have been more than a couple thousand people in the seats by the time this game creaked to an end on Kosuke Fukudome's fly ball to center field at 10:25 pm.
According to Bruce Miles, Trammell blamed Coors Field for all of this:
"To me, this is some of the aftereffects of going to Colorado and Coors Field," said Cubs acting manager Alan Trammell. "Maybe not to this degree, but you go into a game where basically you don't want to use three pitchers because of overuse over the weekend."
If this is really how Trammell thinks, I'm not sure I want him anywhere near managing the Cubs fulltime. This is nonsense -- if Trammell was so worried about that, why did he put Justin Berg into the game, after Berg had thrown twice in Colorado? Wasn't that why Casey Coleman was called up? Or why didn't he, as many managers do in horrible blowouts when the bullpen is overtaxed, put a position player on the mound for the last couple of innings? At least that would have provided some entertainment value. (Picture Mike Fontenot pitching, for example. Or Fukudome.)
Admittedly, this team isn't good. But this bad? This losing streak has been one of the worst in recent team history. The Cubs haven't even had the lead since the sixth inning last Wednesday in Houston. Since 1901 -- nearly 110 seasons' worth of baseball -- there have been only 78 games in major league history with a winning margin of 17 runs or more (including last night). That's less than one per year.
History? I love baseball history, but I'd prefer wins, or at the very least, competitive games in which it looks like the Cubs at least care. Last night, they didn't. Perhaps tonight, weather permitting.
One more bit of history was made last night: when Casey Coleman entered the game, he became the first man to be part of a three-generation family of pitchers. (There have been three other three-generation families: the Bells, Boones and Hairstons, but none were pitchers.) Both Casey's father and grandfather were named Joe Coleman; Casey's father Joe Coleman pitched half a season with the 1976 Cubs. Several years earlier, he had been a decent pitcher for the Tigers, winning 20 games twice, making an All-Star team, and helping lead the Tigers to the 1972 ALCS. By the time he got to the Cubs, he was just... bad. Of the four starts, one of them was this awful game on June 19, 1976, the second game of a doubleheader vs. the Braves, in which he gave up 11 earned runs in less than three innings. One more bad start after that, he was banished to the bullpen for good.
We hope for better for Joe's son Casey, and at least some decent baseball for the rest of 2010.