Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Cubs fans had something to be excited about in this lost season -- Barney's errorless-game streak. Now we don't even have that.
This is why we can't have nice things.
In a season that's been utterly disastrous at the major-league level, one of the few bright spots was Darwin Barney's errorless-game streak; he had tied the MLB record (141 straight games) for second basemen in Thursday's loss to the Rockies, and had a chance to have it all to himself by getting through Friday's game without a miscue.
Nope. Nope. Can't even have that. The record will be shared by Barney and Placido Polanco after Barney's throwing error in the eighth inning ended the streak. In addition to the 141 games, think of it this way: 1,154 innings in between errors (the last one before Friday: a booted ground ball by Jose Reyes of the Marlins in Miami April 17).
And, of course, the Cubs lost the game, 8-3 to the Diamondbacks, their 17th consecutive defeat (18, including the final game in San Diego in 2011) in a NL West park. Incidentally, those who state that the Cubs have an 0-fer against the NL West are incorrect, because the Cubs went 11-4 against NL West teams at Wrigley Field this year (2-1 vs. Dodgers; 3-0 vs. Padres; 3-0 vs. Diamondbacks; 2-1 vs. Rockies; and 1-2 vs. Giants).
This makes no sense at all. I mean, sure, you're probably going to play better against teams in general at home than on the road, but 11-4 at home and 0-17 on the road against the same five teams? Makes no sense. The 11-21 record isn't good, but it isn't winless, either.
About the rest of the game? Travis Wood gave up homers to Cody Ransom, who has killed the Cubs this year in two uniforms (D'backs and Brewers) and Justin Upton. Ransom, incidentally, has had one of the weirdest major-league careers I have ever seen. Check out his career stats; he's played in part of 10 different seasons for six different teams, but not until this year -- at age 36 -- did he get more than 86 big-league plate appearances.
Oh, yes. Some Cubs played in this game, too. Starlin Castro had three hits. Dave Sappelt hit a home run, his second in his last four games (and do not be fooled, Cubs fans. Sappelt is not a power hitter -- he has 38 of them in over 2,300 minor-league plate appearences. Alfonso Soriano walked three times. That's noteworthy -- it is just the third time in 792 games as a Cub that Soriano has drawn three free passes (once in 2007, once in 2010 before Friday night). Three more walks would give him the most he's had as a Cub for a single season.
And to add insult to insult, Barney's error didn't even help any of the three runs off reliever Jaye Chapman become unearned.
The 2012 Cubs have now equalled the 1980 team as the third-losingest in team history with their 98th defeat. That comes with an asterisk, of course, because of the 1981 season (which always has an asterisk). The '81 team would have demolished the club record for losses if not for the strike; its overall percentage of .369 translates to a 102-defeat season, but it was playing markedly worse (.288) before the strike, and despite playing better (.451) after, it's reasonably safe to assume they were headed for 110 defeats.
This team won't do that, obviously, but 100 losses now seems inevitable. Even if, by some miracle, they can actually win a road game west of the Central time zone, there are still the Astros -- who somehow won a game at Milwaukee Friday night.