Broken Record Continues; Cubs Lose Fourth Straight

Starter Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs reacts after giving up a three-run home run to David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 29, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

I was thinking about doing one of those do-it-yourself drop-down recaps for Friday night's 9-2 Cubs loss to the Cardinals, but it's Saturday morning and those things actually take somewhat longer to put together than a standard recap like this one.

But one of those is coming. Soon. I feel it. Stay tuned.

Here's another doesn't-make-sense statistic regarding the 2011 Chicago Cubs. Remember when the Cubs traded for Matt Garza and some here wondered whether he'd suffer coming from a decent pitcher's park in Tampa to a better hitter's park, Wrigley Field?

Garza at home in July: four starts, 30 innings, four ER, 1.00 WHIP, 1.20 ERA
Garza on road in July: two starts, 7.2 innings, 12 ER, 2.48 WHIP, 14.09 ERA

Wait, it gets more bizarre:

Garza at home, 2011 season: 11 starts, 73.1 IP, 22 ER, 1.13 WHIP, 2.70 ERA
Garza on road, 2011 season: 9 starts, 48.1 IP, 32 ER, 1.61 WHIP, 5.96 ERA

Now how many of you would have predicted, before the season started, that Garza would be far more effective at Wrigley than on the road this year? No one, I think. Just another bizarre thing about this woeful season.

For the 32nd time this year, the Cubs lost a game in which they had the lead. That includes three of the four losses on this road trip, in two of which they had a lead in the first inning.

That, my friends, is pathetic. You give your starting pitcher a lead on the road before he even throws a pitch and he can't hold it? In two of the three such games, the Cubs starting pitcher coughed up the lead before the first inning was over. I guess we should give Garza some credit, then; the Cubs didn't take the lead until the second inning and he managed to hold on to it until David Freese slammed a long three-run homer in the fourth.

The Cubs also got a couple of runners thrown out on the bases -- Geovany Soto trying to advance to third after that first run scored on a Tyler Colvin sac fly, and then Colvin himself thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning. But Colvin had a hit! His BA is up to .111! Maybe... well, seriously, this is the time to find out whether Colvin has a future with this team. Play him every single day the rest of the year. It's the only way to find out.

Carlos Marmol put the game out of reach in the eighth inning by giving up three runs and getting hit really hard. I'd definitely consider trading him, if not before Sunday, then perhaps in the offseason. There are other pitchers (Andrew Cashner, who might be back in the major leagues by September or Chris Carpenter, to name two) who could take over that role.

I can't wait to hear what Joe Buck and Tim McCarver have to say about the Cubs on the Fox telecast this afternoon. (Please read that sentence with an air of total sarcasm.)

I think I'm going to adopt the Twins as my underdog team of the year. They still have an outside shot at the postseason, six games out of first place, they have fun players to watch, and they always seem prepared and well-organized, even in a year that started as badly as this one did for them. Go Twins!

Finally, I offer congratulations to Albert Pujols on his 2,000th career hit, a double that drove in a run off Marmol. Even in a down year, Pujols, at his current rate, stands only a little more than five seasons away from 3,000 career hits. Wouldn't it be nice to see that milestone achieved in a Cubs uniform? (I can dream, can't I?)

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