Cubs Lose 10th Straight; Longest Losing Streak Since 1997

Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder David DeJesus reacts after striking out against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 1-0. Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

In the preview to Friday night's game, I wrote:

All of this is another way of saying that I don't think either team can score any runs in this series. Someone will have to, of course; you can't have 0-0 ties in baseball. Ready for three 1-0 games?

Maybe instead of making predictions like this, I should go buy Powerball tickets or something.

The Cubs lost their 10th consecutive game Friday night, 1-0 to the Pirates. Baseball-reference.com's database of games goes back to 1918, 93-plus years' worth of data. In all that time, before Friday night, the Cubs had only 12 games in which they had 10 or more hits and could not score. Three of those were extra-inning games, so that makes Friday's game just the 10th time in nearly 100 years they had such a reign of offensive incompetence. The last game before Friday was on June 22, 2009; before that, it hadn't happened since 1991.

I've got more of this sort of thing, but you'll have to follow me past the jump.

The 10-game losing streak is now the longest since the team lost 14 in a row (the club record) to start the 1997 season. That team, at least, managed to play winning baseball in May (15-13) and wasn't that far below .500 for the rest of that season (68-80), though it lost 94 games.

This year's Cubs don't seem anywhere near capable of doing anything like that. It was the Cubs' first 1-0 loss since August 17, 2010, when the Padres shut out the Cubs 1-0 at Wrigley Field.

Take a look at the lineup the Cubs fielded for that game. Go ahead -- I dare you. It wasn't a very good lineup. Do you think anything this year's Cubs can put out there is anywhere close to that bad lineup? (Maybe you shouldn't answer that question.)

But wait! There's even more!

The 2012 Cubs are 15-30. There are now just four seasons in all of Cubs history with a worse 45-game start:

1953: 14-31
1957: 14-30 (one tie)
1966: 13-32
1981: 10-33 (two ties)

The 1966 Cubs (along with 1962) set the team record for losses. The 1981 team likely would have broken that record if not for the strike. The 1957 team went 62-92, the equivalent of 97 losses in a 162-game season. And the 1953 squad was managed by the popular Phil Cavarretta. When P.K. Wrigley asked Cavarretta just before the following season began how the Cubs would do, Cavarretta told the team owner, "They're a second-division club." (That's an old term, rarely heard now, indicating a team that would finish in the bottom of the standings.)

Cavarretta told the truth (and called himself a "dumb dago" for doing so; the 1954 Cubs went 64-90 and finished seventh). For that, Wrigley fired him just before Opening Day.

Dale Sveum isn't going to be so lucky, I don't think. Gallows humor from Sveum:

"It's just a change to get everything going," he said. "You never know. Sometimes you pick a lineup out of a hat and win. I wasn't going to go that far. You can do that in the American League."

How close is Sveum to doing that?

"Not too far," he said.

Well, why not do it? How much worse could it be?

You'll notice I haven't said much about the actual game Friday night. That's because there isn't much to say. The Cubs had 10 hits and two walks and went 0-for-12 with RISP. That pretty much tells the story of the moribund Cubs offense. Ryan Dempster had another excellent start; his 2.14 ERA now ranks tied for fourth in the National League, all of which has gotten the Cubs exactly nothing. They are 1-7 in games Dempster has started, and have scored a total of 18 runs in those eight games... only 11 of which have scored while Dempster was actually in the game.

Saturday night's game is one of five games being shown regionally on Fox. You'll see how few places are carrying this game in tonight's game preview (4 p.m. CT), but suffice to say that most of the country will be spared. You might not be unhappy to miss watching the Cubs trying for Consecutive Loss No. 11.

That's all I've got. Glad you took this job, Theo?

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