Everyone paying attention? Good.
What did we learn today?
- Angel Guzman is not a major league pitcher.
- Neither is Glendon Rusch.
- You shouldn't throw a live ball at an umpire.
- You shouldn't throw a live ball into the dugout.
- And, maybe when the score is 8-2 and it's raining pretty hard, the umpires should just call it a day.
And on a day when it was 43 degrees at game time -- and despite wearing gloves, my fingers were so cold that I was having trouble scoring in the middle innings, and it got worse when I accidentally dropped the scorecard on the wet bench in front of me -- why is it that the pitchers just absolutely, positively refused to throw strikes?
The first two innings took an hour. Angel Guzman threw EIGHTY-SEVEN pitches in THREE INNINGS. (WGN Radio reported 88, but the boxscore says 87.) The Cub pitchers totalled 188 pitches, and the Padre hurlers 168 -- a ridiculous total of 356 pitches, 219 of which were strikes, only 61.5%.
Guzman hit Dave Roberts leading off the game, and even though he gave up only one run in that inning, it was all downhill from there. Yes, even though the Cubs briefly took a 2-1 lead -- on Guzman's deep RBI double to deep center field, just after I said to Jeff, "Isn't he about the worst-looking pitcher at the plate ever?"
Now, if I could make the rest of the team hit by saying those things, I'd be saying so after just about every batter. Howard showed up late, after changing his plans a couple of times, and by the time he sat down, he had written "Ronny" on about three different lines on his scorecard. If only that would have made the rest of those players do something as boneheaded as Cedeno did in the fifth inning -- throwing a live ball in the path of an umpire, who wisely let it drop, allowing two runners to advance.
It was scored an error, but we figured we'd invent a new scoring notation for that: BF (Brain Fart), or maybe BC (Brain Cramp), for something not quite as bad as a brain fart.
It was contagious. Three batters later Neifi Perez threw a ball on which he had ZERO chance of a double play almost into the seats, allowing a run to score. The third error of the Padres' five-run fifth was a tough one, given to Matt Murton for attempting a catch on a sinking line drive. Sitting right behind it, I can tell you that Murton made a good effort and it was NOT an easy play, and could easily have been scored a hit.
The effect of it was the same -- a run, except with an error charged, it wound up being an unearned run instead of an earned run to Glendon Rusch's awful pitching line (SEVEN hits and a walk in an inning and two-thirds).
See, here's the problem. I read some of your comments -- DFA Rusch, etc. That's just not possible at this time of the season. Reasonable though that may be, no team is going to eat that much of a contract. It occurs to me that the possibility exists that Rusch might be hiding an injury -- this is about how badly Joe Borowski was throwing in 2004 before he finally admitted he was hurt.
I also read some of your game thread comments about Michael Barrett's little tiff with Dave Roberts, which resulted in the Padres bench spilling onto the field briefly, and all four umpires pulling Barrett aside to calm him down.
Listening to the postgame show, Dave Kaplan was saying how that at least showed that someone had some fire in him. Maybe it was misguided, but I agree with Kaplan. Some of you say it shows the Cubs have lost control, but I don't see it that way. Not saying that players should take it to each other every day, but at least Barrett showed that he was taking an interest in the game and not letting the other team walk all over him. You may remember this 2004 game against the Astros where Barrett got into it with Roy Oswalt, and some will say that's what galvanized the Astros to the playoffs that year.
Something has to happen. And to me, a wholesale dumping of players and the coaching staff right now isn't the answer. I have advocated, and will continue to advocate, the replacement of Larry Rothschild, and Dusty's "good old boy" network of Gene Clines, Gary Matthews and Sonny Jackson, all of whom are, I believe, holding this team back.
And, it is a crime that Ryan Theriot wasn't in the starting lineup today. This is Restovich Syndrome all over again -- get a young guy who might be able to play on the roster, and don't give him a chance. At some point, I think Jim Hendry is simply going to have to order Baker to play these guys.
It is still too early to wholesale-quit on the 2006 season. Yes, the club looks awful. Yes, they are a pretty good distance out of first place -- eight games, pending the Philadelphia/Cincinnati result tonight -- but again, we have one hundred and twenty-seven games left.
And eventually, it will warm up. Man, was it cold today. Pat Hughes apparently said there were about 25,000 in the stands today. That's way off -- couldn't have been more than 20,000 at most, despite the announced 39,245. The bleachers were about 85% full, although I could see people streaming out the Waveland Avenue exit as early as the fourth inning.