First baseman Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs wipes his face as he stands on the field against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The Mets drubbed the Cubs 19-1; it was by far the most runs they had scored as a franchise, then in their third season (the previous record had been 14). Word got back to the newsroom of the now long-defunct New York Herald Tribune, where someone announced excitedly, "The Mets scored 19 runs!"
Jimmy Breslin, a well-known columnist and wit, looked up and said, without missing a beat, "Did they win?"
The Mets put up nearly that many Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field and smashed the Cubs 17-1, the most runs the Cubs have allowed, and their most lopsided margin of defeat, since they lost 18-1 to the Brewers on August 2, 2010, a day when the scoreboard operator ran out of yellow numbers to denote hits (the Brewers had a Cubs-opponent record 26) and they had to use umpire numbers in the hits column.
No such trouble Wednesday, primarily because Cubs pitchers went back to their usual practice of walking everyone in sight. Seven Mets batters walked and six of them scored; included in that count were two walks to Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese and walks in three consecutive innings (fourth, fifth, sixth) to Mets right fielder Lucas Duda.
Sandwiched around those were a whole bunch of hits, including four home runs. Participating in that barrage on a windy day were Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy. Murphy had zero home runs in 292 plate appearances before this game and now he has two. The Mets had back-to-back six-run innings.
It was hard to remember, after those, that this game was actually tied 1-1 going into the fourth inning and Jeff Samardzija had settled down after allowing a leadoff walk to Andres Torres, who scored to make it 1-0 Mets. The Cubs tied it on a Darwin Barney single and Luis Valbuena double in the second, but that was essentially it for the Cubs offense; they managed just five more hits the rest of the game.
Samardzija looks whipped; in the month of June he has now allowed 27 earned runs in 23⅓ innings covering five starts. He hasn't made it out of the sixth inning in any of those starts and that's an ERA of 10.41. (Not to mention the 15 walks and four home runs allowed in those starts.) Casey Coleman wasn't much better, being pounded for seven runs in less than two innings.
There's really nothing much else to say about this game, except for this: with the Cubs down 1-0 in the bottom of the first and Joe Mather on third base and Starlin Castro on first base with one out, Castro got himself caught too far off first. Smartly, he began a rundown -- but Mather stayed anchored near third base. Why wouldn't you try to break for home in that situation? At least draw a throw; the way the Mets were making errors in this series, maybe they throw the ball away. Castro was tagged out and Mather was stranded at third when Alfonso Soriano lined out to David Wright.
Probably wouldn't have made any difference anyway, but really.
To conclude, I'll paraphrase another wit, the late Dorothy Parker:
"This is not a game to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown aside with great force."
The Cubs, and you, and I, could all use the off-day Thursday, before the Astros, who are 9-25 on the road, come to town. Maybe the Cubs can win another series.