Random Cubs Recap: May 15, 1997

Pitcher Frank Castillo of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Allsport

Not to worry. There will still be plenty of Cubs news coverage during the offseason here -- whenever there is any. It's been pretty quiet over the last few days, so I thought I'd start an occasional offseason series. Here's how it's going to work.

I went to random.org, a site that generates true random numbers, and had it select a month (4 through 9), date (1 through 31) and year (1985 through 2002), to pick a random date over that period of Cubs history. I chose that series of years because they immediately postdate the 1984 division championship team, and end right before the 2003 division championship team (which is also the year I started blogging about the Cubs). That's 18 years' worth of games, some better than others. (The handful of regular season games played in October won't be included; that's simply a choice I made.)

I'm going to do the random number selecting before I look at the game played that day. That way, whatever is picked is a surprise even to me. (If the random number generator picks an off day, I'll do it a second time.) Then, I'll write a recap as if BCB existed on that day. I'm also going to try to write these from the perspective of the time -- in other words, not "knowing" what was going to happen from that day forward.

The first date it chose for me was May 15, 1997. That was a pretty bad year for the Cubs, as you surely know. However, it turned out to be a pretty good game on that day. Follow me past the jump for the recap of this random Thursday afternoon game at a chilly Wrigley Field.

This season has not started well for the Cubs.

You don't really need me to tell you that; the 14-game losing streak that began this year is the worst in National League history.

You know me; I'm always looking for the bright side. So I have the tiniest bit of optimism after the Cubs beat the Padres 8-2 this afternoon at Wrigley. They've played .500 ball since the end of the losing streak (now 12-12 since the 0-14 start) and today's win gives them six wins in their last 11 games.

Yes, I'm reaching a little. Forgive me -- this season has been so bad so far that a win like this one makes me want to believe the Cubs can dig themselves out of this hole.

It was chilly (just 48 degrees at game time) but sunny at the ballpark this afternoon and a middling crowd of 19,766 was on hand to see Frank Castillo throw. He responded with his best start since April 10, going seven innings and giving up just two runs, one of them on a solo homer by Wally Joyner that tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth. The Cubs came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie the game on a triple by Jose Hernandez, who then scored the lead run on a sac fly by Scott Servais, a lead they extended with a four-run seventh that put the game out of reach at 7-2. Mark Grace led the way with three hits, but the Cubs had fun tripling the day away; in addition to Hernandez' three-bagger, Sammy Sosa, Brian McRae and Doug Glanville all hit triples, the latter three off Padres reliever Tim Scott. It was the most triples a Cubs team had in a game in nearly 30 years, since the second game of a doubleheader on April 28, 1968 against the Astros, when they also had four in a 5-2 win.

About the only downer in this game was Ryno going 0-for-4; he's barely been able to break the Mendoza line this year and now is hitting just .196/.244/.313 with just three home runs in 119 plate appearances. Could this be his last season?

Tomorrow, the Cubs will face the Padres again; Kevin Foster will take the mound on a day that's supposed to be a little warmer (near 60). Hopefully, that will keep the Cubs' bats hot, too.

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