Cubs' Four Errors Give Rockies 5-3 Gift Win

Cubs manager Mike Quade summed up last night's game best:

"If you're going to get beat, you at least would not like to gift wrap the [darn] thing for the opposition."

Obviously, "darn" wasn't the word Quade used to describe the Cubs' 5-3 loss to the Rockies; it was also bleeped in this wrap, and not mentioned at all in this one. Only Paul Sullivan in the Tribune posted the unexpurgated version, and "damn" is hardly as strong an epithet as Quade could have used to describe the play of Starlin Castro in a disastrous third inning when he couldn't handle one ball and threw away two others for a three-error inning that gave the Rockies three unearned runs.

All of that came after the Cubs took it to Esmil Rogers in the first, capped by Darwin Barney's first major league home run, a two-run blast. But even that bad second inning and Castro's errors didn't cost the Cubs the game; it was Rogers laying down a perfect bunt for a base hit in the fifth, and after a walk, Matt Garza throwing away a sacrifice attempt that scored a run; a groundout gave the Rockies an insurance run, and only Garza's unassisted tag on a pickoff prevented further Colorado scoring.

Just when you think it's not possible for the weather to get any worse this month... well, you know the rest. I can remember cold days like this in other Aprils. I can remember windy days we've had in other Aprils. I can remember drizzly and rainy and stormy days in other Aprils. But not every single day like we've had this year. Monday night had just about all of that; the cold morphed into drizzle, which occasionally stopped and occasionally decided it just had to rain harder on Wrigley Field (and turned into a downpour about half an hour after the game ended). The average temperature for the Cubs' first 13 home games stands at 46 degrees, far below the average for this time of year, even considering four of the games have been night games.

37,417 was the announced crowd; at least 20,000 ticket buyers were no-shows, although the bleachers were fairly well populated. That thinned out when the drizzle got harder and the Cubs' bats went into hibernation (only four singles and Jeff Baker's too-late ninth-inning double over the last six innings).

Garza deserved better, although as noted, he hurt himself with his own throwing error. Only one of the five Rockies runs was earned; Garza got a "quality start" for this effort, and gave up just three singles and a walk.

There are two other good things we can take out of this game: Kosuke Fukudome had his best day in the major leagues, going 5-for-5 and raising his BA in a still-small-sample-size 46 at-bats to .478. He's also drawn 10 walks for a .571 OBA. We know this won't last. Quade joked in his postgame remarks that he was "going to put an April calendar in his locker the rest of the year". But you have to ride this kind of streak as long as it lasts.

Also, Jeff Samardzija threw two strong innings in relief, striking out a pair and more importantly, not walking anyone. Could he have finally turned the corner? If so, that would give the Cubs four solid relief options.

The famed "College of Pitchers" will go for the Cubs tonight. Naturally: weather permitting.

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