Phillies 9, Cubs 8: OK, YOU Explain That One

Drew Hallowell

There's good news and bad news from Tuesday night's Cubs game. I think you can guess which means more.

Good news! Tuesday night, the Cubs scored more runs than they had in their previous four games combined!

Bad news! Edwin Jackson forgot to bring his July with him into August. Jackson was all over the place Tuesday night, and when he wasn't throwing wild pitches or walking people, he was giving up hits (10 of them) and seven earned runs in five innings.

All of that led to a game that many of you probably turned off early, when the Cubs turned a 5-2 lead into a 9-5 deficit, and if you did so, you missed the Cubs' wacky ninth inning, when they had the tying run on third base and the potential lead run on first with two out, after what should have been the most routine of game-ending fly outs dropped by Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown.

You know where this is leading, of course. A good team ties the game up, or maybe takes the lead. The Cubs aren't a good team, so to add to the wackiness, the last out -- another fly ball to Brown, this one caught -- was recorded by the 49th player to wear a Cubs uniform this year, new outfielder Thomas Neal. Fun? Perhaps. Another loss? Yes, 9-8 to the Phillies. The loss dropped the Cubs' record in one-run games to 15-25, which accounts for almost the entire team deficit to .500 (they're 34-38 in all other games).

But hey, eight runs and 12 hits is good. A home run from Donnie Murphy is good -- the way Murphy swings, pretty much every at-bat is either going to wind up as a strikeout or an extra-base hit. Murphy could air-condition almost every stadium he plays in with that windmill swing; sometimes he makes good contact, and Tuesday night's resulted in a three-run homer, his first as a Cub, and 19th of his major-league career.

Anthony Rizzo also homered, his 18th; he now has four home runs in his last six games after hitting just four in the 63 games before that. Rizzo appears to be a streak hitter, a la Alfonso Soriano, but it would help if Rizzo could go more than 1-for-5 when he hits a home run. His BA is stuck in the low .240s; I'd have liked to see him hit .280 or so this year. Perhaps he still can, but he'll have to have a hot August and September to do it.

Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo chimed in with three hits each, and it might have been enough, if Michael Bowden and Hector Rondon hadn't each allowed a run in their relief stints. Bowden was doing fine in his inning, retiring the first two hitters, when he served up a one-strike fastball to Carlos Ruiz, who homered for what turned out to be the decisive ninth Philadelphia run. That's Carlos Ruiz, ladies and gentlemen, who had exactly one home run in 167 at-bats this year entering Tuesday night's game.

Oh, and I thought you'd enjoy the photo at the top of this post; that's David DeJesus eating some dirt as he went after a fly ball in the first inning that turned into a double by Michael Young. That, too, seems to sum up this season -- a lot of dirt-eating.

Such is the lot of the 2013 Cubs. Entertaining, but not in the way you'd necessarily want them to be. "A day late and a dollar short," is the way Jack Brickhouse would have described a game like that one. These Cubs are quite a number of "days late" and "dollars short", as the saying goes. Nevertheless, they'll try it again Wednesday night, a matchup of lefties, with Travis Wood facing Cole Hamels.

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