Angels 13, Cubs 2: 'They Kicked My Ass Today'

USA TODAY Sports

No two ways about it: that was bad.

The headline to this recap is a direct quote from Wednesday night's starter Jeff Samardzija:

What more can anyone really say about the Cubs' 13-2 loss to the Angels, a game that was over before the Cubs even came to bat? (Something, because you're here to read a recap of this game and two paragraphs isn't really enough.)

Shark got pounded in the first inning, giving up a pair of doubles (though, to be fair, one of those doubles bounced in and out of the glove of Cody Ransom), a walk, and a pair of homers. One of the homers was a three-run job by Josh Hamilton, who also homered off Shark in the fifth inning, when the Angels put the game away with a six-run frame. Our old buddy Albert Pujols homered in that inning, too, his second homer of the series. That gave Pujols back the lead in Wrigley Field homers by an active opposing player with 28, one more than Adam Dunn. Of course, now Pujols probably won't be back at Wrigley for six years, given the infrequency of Cubs series against the Angels.

It was the Cubs' most lopsided defeat of the year and the biggest loss margin, taking that carefully-crafted +1 run differential and wrenching it back to -10. That said, the Cubs still trail their Pythagorean won/loss projection by three games. Comparison points: the Nationals and Diamondbacks both have nearly the same run differential as the Cubs (-9). Both are 47-44 and the D'backs are in first place.

All that is to say that the Cubs have in general played better than their record, but not on Wednesday night. After Samardzija was lifted, having matched his career-worst by allowing nine runs, Henry Rodriguez came in and promptly gave up the Angels' fifth homer of the evening, to former Cubs minor leaguer Brendan Harris. (Harris also played in three games for the big-league Cubs in 2004, before being involved in the four-team Nomar Garciaparra trade.)

Brooks Raley finished off the game, throwing 4⅓ relief innings, the longest Cubs relief appearance since Randy Wells threw five relief innings May 21, 2012. Raley was also the first Cubs relief pitcher to get two at-bats in a game since James Russell did it May 25, 2011. It was Raley's first appearance for the major-league Cubs this year, on his second recall from Triple-A Iowa. He did all right, getting nicked for a couple of runs. It would have helped if he hadn't allowed three walks; Cubs pitchers overall walked seven Angels.

We were also "treated" to the sight of Luis Valbuena replacing Alfonso Soriano in left field in the eighth inning. It was Valbuena's fourth career major-league game in the outfield, first since 2011. It showed, as he had trouble flipping the warm-up baseball into the bleachers before the inning started.

And Billy Buckner finished up the game for the Angels (and allowed Ransom's homer), the first Buckner to appear at Wrigley Field since 1984. He's no relation to the former Cub first baseman.

Things like those are what keeps you interested in games like this, because it certainly wasn't the performance of the Cubs. They had just five baserunners; Anthony Rizzo drove in the first run with a fourth-inning single, and Ransom the other with one of the most meaningless home runs you'll ever see, hit with one out in the ninth with his team trailing by 12 and a small fraction of the crowd still in the house. Most of them left after Jeff Garlin yelled (not sang) "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", not even sticking around to see the Cubs go out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, even though it was one of the more pleasant weather evenings of the entire 2013 season.

All right, now that's enough on this stinker, other than to say I doubt you'll see a worse performance by the Chicago Cubs the rest of this season. At least I hope not. They'll open the final series before the All-Star break, a four-game set against the Cardinals, tonight at Wrigley Field. Edwin Jackson takes the mound against Jake Westbrook.

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