The Houston Astros are a really bad team.
That must mean the Cubs are worse, or at least they were worse for one night, stinking out Wrigley Field with a 10-1 loss to the Astros, the first time they had scored 10 or more in a game since June 11, when they put up 11 against... the White Sox at the Cell. Must be something in the Chicago hotel water, I suppose.
Unless Chris Volstad can find a way to get his name beside a "W" in a box score for the rest of this season, he will annihilate the previous record for losses a Cubs pitcher who had zero wins in a season. That, before this year, was six, held by Angel Guzman (2006), Dave Smith (1991) and Dick Drott (1960).
Volstad fell to 0-9 as he gave up four runs in five innings. That doesn't sound too bad, I suppose, but consider this: Volstad has now thrown 63⅓ innings. He's likely to stay in the rotation the rest of the year, probably about nine more starts. The club record for highest ERA for anyone who had more than 100 innings pitched in a season is 6.54, set by Jim Bullinger in 1996. The highest ERA for anyone who had as many innings as Volstad has now is 7.47, set by Ruben Quevedo in 2000. Volstad stands at 6.96 after Tuesday, getting close to the title "Worst Starter In Cubs History".
All right, so it was 4-0 Astros after five, not an insurmountable lead considering the pitching staff Houston has. Then Lendy Castillo came into the game.
Truth be told, it wasn't all Lendy's fault. Starlin Castro seemed to again lose focus on what looked like an easy double-play ball which would have scored a run, but left the bases empty with two out. Instead, Castro booted the ball and all hands were safe, with that run scoring and two men still on base. That seemed to unhinge poor Lendy, who served up a three-run homer to Fernando Martinez three pitches later. After a strikeout, a single, another K and a run-scoring double, Dale Sveum had mercy on Lendy and yanked him after a 32-pitch nightmare of an inning.
Michael Bowden finished that inning, but allowed yet another home run, this one to former Cub Scott Moore, to complete the Houston scoring. The Cubs managed their sole run of the night on a Darwin Barney RBI fielder's choice. Big whoop.
The Astros, bad as they are, had outscored the Cubs for the year by 17 runs before Tuesday night's game. Now they've got a 26-run edge on them, as well as outhomering the Cubs 102-93. It was their second three-homer game against the Cubs this year (they also did it May 21 in Houston), and their second three-homer game in Chicago; in that game at the Cell where they scored 11 runs, they had four home runs. Gotta be that hotel water.
Speaking of water, a stray shower deposited itself over Wrigley Field during that five-run Houston sixth inning, raining for about 10 minutes while the Astros rained baseballs all over the yard. And to cap off the horrific night, stupid people (and I really don't know what else to call them) started the wave in left-center field late in the game; it managed to get around the entire ballpark seven times before the... stupid people decided they'd had enough.
The wave. Just don't do it.
Enough. The rubber game of the Battle Of The Bad takes place at Wrigley Field Wednesday afternoon. The game preview will post at 11:30 a.m. CDT.