Here's all you need to know about the Cubs' 3-0 loss to the Astros Tuesday night:
Before Tuesday, the last time any Houston team threw three straight shutouts -- as they have now, with their shutout of the Brewers Sunday and two straight blankings of the Cubs -- was in 1986. Yes, 1986, 26 years ago, by the team that won the third-most games in Astros history (96). They did it against the Dodgers and Giants, and the third of those games was this no-hitter by Mike Scott on September 25 that clinched the division title for Houston that year.
This year's version of the Astros... isn't that good. If they lose Wednesday's season finale to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, they will go down as the worst team in Houston franchise history with 107 losses.
And yet, here we are, with one of the worst teams in Cubs franchise history -- in some ways, arguably the worst, despite the fact that they won't set a team record for losses -- giving a really bad Houston team almost no fight in losing two straight, scoring no runs and posting just six combined hits in the two games.
But hey, at least Tuesday the Cubs got runners to third base. Two of them, Alfonso Soriano in the fourth inning on a single followed by a Starlin Castro double, and in the fifth, when Brett Jackson singled, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a comebacker.
This is what we are reduced to: "celebrating" Cubs baserunners getting past second base.
Here's where we are now: unless the Cubs score at least three runs today, they will have their third-lowest total of runs in a non-strike season in the expansion era. The current total of 608 runs exceeds (since 1962) only the 1992 team, which scored 593, and the 1963 club that put up 570 runs -- but 1963 was part of a pitchers' era. The 1963 Cubs allowed 578 runs and won 82 games. The 1992 team had better pitching, allowing 624 runs to this year's 755.
A few more than the smallish crowd of Monday showed up for Tuesday night's non-festivities; the announced total of 33,168 was way, way higher than the actual number in the ballpark. I'll have more on attendance sometime tomorrow. The Cubs are going to wind up with about 2.88 million, which is down about four percent from 2011 in the number of tickets sold.
Which brings me to note, as was already mentioned in this FanPost, that Cubs season ticket holders received an email noting that ticket prices would be sent out in two weeks, with a 10 percent deposit for 2013 due November 12.
Frankly, it was a perfunctory email that did nothing to thank season-ticket holders for all their support, especially in this horrific season. The Astros, who are in the same bad-team boat the Cubs are, had GM Jeff Luhnow send a letter to their STH commiserating with fans about the team's bad play, thanking STH for their support and outlining in detail the club's plan for returning to contention. You can read that letter, sent in August, at this link.
Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts, or both, should do the same for Cubs season-ticket holders. It costs nothing to do -- especially if emailed -- and would buy quite a bit of goodwill from fans, some of whom are perceiving quite a bit of hubris from a front office that has brought them nothing, so far, but one of the worst years in club history.
That year will end Wednesday afternoon, perhaps showing some mercy on us. Oh, and it looks like rain this afternoon.