Not long after the first pitch of the Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Nationals Tuesday night, a ghostly-looking orange-tinged full moon began to rise over the right-field bleachers, eventually brightening the sky above Wrigley Field.
Seriously, that was the most interesting thing about this dully played defeat. This moon is called a "blue moon" because:
Today's full moon qualifies as a Blue Moon because it's the third full moon in a season with four (most seasons have only three). Historically, there have been two different definitions of a Blue Moon. Technically, a Blue Moon is the third full moon in a four-full-moon season. However, a 1946 article in "Sky & Telescope" magazine mistakenly defined it as the second full moon in a single month (since most months have only one full moon), and the definition stuck. Because August will have just this one full moon, it wouldn't meet the mistaken, though commonly used, definition, though it does qualify as a technical Blue Moon.
It's also known as the Sturgeon Moon, so named by Native American tribes:
This large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught at this time. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon, because when the moon rises it looks reddish through a sultry haze. It was also known as the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.
Would you rather I talked about Starlin Castro's 0-for-4 in which he had a couple of really bad at-bats? Or Anthony Rizzo's 0-for-4, ditto?
The Cubs' two runs scored on solo home runs by Brian Bogusevic (his first as a Cub) and Donnie Murphy. That was Murphy's seventh in 48 at-bats and it's a career high for him. This makes almost no sense; if Murphy didn't play another game this year, his 2013 season would be just the 15th in major-league history with at least 48 at-bats and an OPS of 1.250 or higher. Check out the others:
Besides Shane Spencer, which of those does not belong?
Obviously, Murphy isn't going to keep this up, nor is he going to be any significant part of this team going forward. I suppose he's put himself in the conversation to be a bench player in 2014; he can play third base, second base and shortstop and can hit... well, at least better than Cody Ransom.
Murphy's home run would have been more useful if James Russell and Kevin Gregg hadn't stunk out the top of the ninth by allowing two runs and putting the game essentially out of reach. Once again, the Cubs failed to hit with RISP -- 0-for-8. They left six men on base and the Nats left 12, but Washington was 4-for-14 with RISP and that was enough for them to win.
Otherwise, as I said, that moon was the most interesting thing about this game, which dragged on for exactly one hour longer than Monday's swift affair. Chris Rusin pitched reasonably well, but was lifted one out short of a quality start, for whatever that's worth. Relievers Blake Parker and Pedro Strop did their part to keep the game close until the dreadful ninth.
Enjoy the Sturgeon Moon, then. Perhaps the baseball tonight will be better-played.