Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carlos Marmol walks out to the bullpen while wearing a winter hat during the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
They say a team is never as bad as it looks when they're on a long losing streak.
In this case, I think "they" might, in fact, be wrong. This Cubs team might have a chance to be historically bad.
The Cubs lost to the Reds 9-4 Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field in a game that was never close. Not after a horrific first inning when the Cubs allowed four hits and four runs, made an error and gave the Reds two stolen bases.
Which was as many steals as the Reds had in their first 13 games of the season combined.
I think there's going to be a lot of that kind of thing written about here this season, as the Cubs make all sorts of teams look good. The Reds are a decent team, but they were without Brandon Phillips today, and still scored nine runs. The game wasn't close after the Cubs cut the lead to 4-2, or 6-3, or 7-4. It was almost as if the teams were playing on two different planes of existence, with the Cubs plugging a run in here and there, and then the Reds scoring at will to put the game out of reach.
Chris Volstad was OK after the first inning, though he gave the Reds two more runs in the fourth, before departing for pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt in the fifth. The bullpen was mediocre, giving up five hits, four walks and three runs over the last four innings. Only Scott Maine, called up from Iowa today to replace the DL'd Kerry Wood, was unscathed by any Cincinnati runs. Maine also struck out Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen and looked decent. There -- something positive out of today's game.
That's about all I've got. Announced attendance was 37,782, but there couldn't have been more than about 16,000 in the house, and many of those were part of school groups that arrived on an army's worth of yellow school buses right around game time. They were lined up to get in as late as the second inning, and many of them departed early, as the wind was howling in about 20 miles per hour on a 44-degree day. At least it didn't rain.
Some entertainment was provided by an idiot who ran out on the field during the fifth inning. It happened while Geovany Soto was out talking to Volstad, so it didn't really delay anything; he was tackled by several security guards and hauled away to the police station on Addison. From what I understand, this crime (depending on circumstances) can now be a felony, which could carry a large fine, probation and a season-long ban from Wrigley Field. Why would you do that?
Just how many more at-bats do we need to see from Marlon Byrd before the team admits that he's done? He's still hustling and playing (mostly) good defense, but looks completely lost at the plate. 3-for-43. At this point, his contract has to be seen as a sunk cost. Just release him and get Tony Campana or Dave Sappelt up to play center field. At least those guys have some speed and, presuming they get on base at better than a .152 OBP (which is where Byrd's is now), could perhaps create some actual run-scoring.
Last year's longest losing streak was eight games (May 30-June 7). That one looks like it could be in jeopardy.
At least the sun will be out tomorrow.