Tuesday was a busy day off the field for the Cubs, with Carlos Marmol being DFA'd, Ian Stewart being released, and Starlin Castro finally getting a day off. Could this be a day that would turn a corner for the beleaguered 2013 team?
Nope. Not in the least. The Cubs got on the field, took a quick 3-1 lead on Nate Schierholtz's towering home run to right field, and then... played like they have in Miller Park for the last three years, losing to the Brewers 9-3.
Edwin Jackson looked pretty good... until he didn't. (He even got a hit, continuing the Cubs-pitchers-can-actually-hit theme of 2013.) The offense looked pretty good... until it pretty much stopped hitting after Schierholtz's homer. Three doubles, one in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, was the entirety of the Cubs offense following that three-run blast. The Cubs had four doubles overall, giving them back the National League lead at 153, and putting them on pace for 330, which would leave them a bit short of the club record of 340.
What is it about Miller Park? As I noted in the preview to this game, the Cubs have played the Brewers basically even at Wrigley Field since the beginning of 2011 (8-9). Yet they are now 3-19 against Milwaukee at Miller Park in that same time frame? Granted, as pointed out by Len and JD on the telecast, the Brewers have the best home record in the National League in that time frame -- though not this year, when they are under .500 at home. Still, you'd think that just by chance the Cubs could win more than three of 22 attempts. Is it the brats? The toll on I-94? (Yes, the Cubs haven't been a good team since the start of 2011. That probably is the biggest factor.)
Schierholtz also made a Reed Johnson-like attempt at leaping over the right-field fence to try to snare Juan Francisco's home run in the second inning. Unlike Reed's leap, which resulted in taking away a possible grand slam from Prince Fielder back in 2009, Francisco's ball was just a little too far for Schierholtz to grab, though it was a worthy effort. Cody Ransom also made a couple of nice defensive plays in his game replacing Castro at shortstop, perhaps showing that he could do this on an occasional basis.
Hector Rondon and Shawn Camp finished up after Jackson departed; Edwin didn't manage to get out of the fifth inning. Both Camp and Rondon surrendered home runs to Rickie Weeks; it might be time to think about having Rondon suffer a bout of Rule 5 Disease and get him on the disabled list, though there might not be a replacement who's any better.
As far as Jackson goes, his ERA now ranks 96th among 97 qualified starters in the major leagues this year. (97th, incidentally, is Dan Haren, who was rumored to be coming to the Cubs for Marmol. What goes around...) I really have no idea what to think about Jackson, but the Cubs are likely now stuck with him for the next three and a half years, because as Jed Hoyer said regarding Marmol:
"We realized in August of last year that we wouldn’t be able to trade him, or acquire any value for him," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He had a really good second half last year on paper. And no one bid at the August deadline, and we never had any offers that were more than just someone else’s undesirable contract for ours. There’s a lot of talk about trade value and things like that, but that was something we had given up on long ago."
We can only hope that Theo & Co. aren't saying the same thing about Jackson three years from now. Or two years. Or next year. You'll also note that the quote about Marmol likely means he'll be released after the 10-day DFA period ends, although Hoyer also said:
"It's possible. We didn't put him on release waivers right away," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "If a team calls and has some ideas … a team may have interest in that context. We weren't getting calls before, (but) sometimes you put a guy out there. That clearly allows for an easier negotiation. We'll see."
This started out as a recap of another loss and has turned into another recap about the team letting Carlos Marmol go. Both of those things are things I'd rather not write too much more about. Perhaps the Cubs can turn around this Miller Park jinx tonight. Scott Feldman will take the mound against Yovani Gallardo.