Cubs Swept By Marlins, Lose Fifth Straight

Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs signs an autograph before a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Here's the most positive thing I can bring out of the Cubs' fifth loss in a row, 5-3 to the Marlins on Thursday afternoon:

They didn't give up any home runs.

Thus, the home run contraption in left-center field at Marlins Park remained silent on Thursday. For that, at least, after Cubs pitchers served up meatballs that set it off both of the previous evenings, we can be grateful.

Maybe that's the answer -- day games! No, wait, that isn't right -- the Marlins hit two home runs in a day game last Sunday against the Astros. Maybe it's because the roof is closed -- it was open for the two night games. Or maybe it's just random.

Look at the photo attached to this post. It's not any Cubs player in game action. Why is that? Because the Cubs didn't really have any action in this game that's worth noting in photographic form.

Why has most of this recap been about the Marlins? Because, honestly, there isn't very much to write about the Cubs that I haven't written before.

Actually, there is. Jeff Samardzija had his worst start of the year, and the shortest by any Cubs starter this season -- 88 pitches in 3⅔ innings, eight hits and five walks allowed. It's as if he forgot everything he learned in spring training, if he did in fact take in any lessons there. It's probably too early to give up completely on this experiment, but I still can't help thinking that the Cubs would have been better off with Randy Wells in the rotation and Samardzija (instead of Shawn Camp) in the bullpen.

Have I been picking on Shawn Camp? Maybe. I just can't see any reason why a guy like that has a major-league job. And he actually threw fairly well today.

Even after Darwin Barney tripled with the bases loaded to erase a 2-0 deficit and give the Cubs a 3-2 lead in the second inning, what was my first thought? You're right if you guessed: "How are they going to blow this lead?"

Sure enough, they did, just one inning later. In the Cubs' 10 losses, they have had the lead at some point in six of them.

So after 13 games, the Cubs are 3-10 and have been outscored 67-46. That isn't good. This could be worse: we are four at-bats closer to Marlon Byrd being "evaluated"; he managed to get on base once Thursday with a walk, but went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .075 (3-for-40, all singles). Dale Sveum said:

"He will go out there, and [we will] see what happens after 100 or so at-bats."

100 at-bats? At the present rate, that's 15-20 more games. Does Sveum really want to have three or four automatic outs in every game for the next two to three weeks?

I really wish I had something more positive to say this afternoon, but I don't. The Cubs come home to face a Reds team that is also struggling, and what will they find when they get back to Wrigley Field? This forecast:

Friday: A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a steady temperature around 49. Breezy, with a north northwest wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to between 15 and 20 mph. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Ugh. Chris Volstad will face the Reds' Homer Bailey. If you're going, dress warm.

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