Silently. Quietly. Screaming. This famous painting, I think, expresses what we are all feeling inside.
The Cubs lost to the Padres 2-1 in ten innings last night, yet another mind-bendingly frustrating loss (look at the painting again. I know you feel this way). I'm beginning to be glad that I have to go to sleep to get up for work and miss the end of West Coast night games. When I went to sleep at the end of the fourth inning, Sean Marshall hadn't allowed a hit and the Cubs were actually ahead for the first time since last Monday. Yes, that's right. Not only have they now lost five in a row, they hadn't even had the lead since the last game they won.
The lead lasted two innings. Marshall's no-hitter was broken up in the sixth -- and you can blame my SB Nation colleague jbox at Gaslamp Ball for that -- then the Padres tied it in that frame in part because Marshall didn't break to the base quickly enough to cover, and the Cubs...
Well, they had their chances again. Nine hits and three walks and five stolen bases ought to lead to more than one run -- especially since the one run was an Aramis Ramirez homer. That leaves eleven other baserunners, six of whom (the five steals and Michael Barrett's triple) reached scoring position under their own power. Last night's designated goat was Jacque Jones, who struck out four times and left four of those runners stranded.
I refer you again to the Smooth Jazz Man's diary, as he attended last night's disaster, along with several thousand other very vocal Cub fans -- you could clearly hear them on the telecast, as you could on Friday night.
Speaking of the telecast and Barrett's triple, Bob Brenly embarrassed himself after Barrett slid into third -- headfirst again, after swearing he wouldn't do this any more, and it was completely unnecessary. Barrett was, um, adjusting himself and at first Brenly thought he had pulled a groin muscle. It was clear to anyone watching the game that he had, um, gotten his cup out of place with the slide, and also probably got quite a bit of dirt in his pants with the slide.
After a few minutes of misplaced worrying that Barrett was hurt, Brenly must have realized what had really happened and tried to backtrack and pretty much tripped all over his tongue trying to talk his way out of it. Nice try, Bob.
The broadcast crew also barely mentioned the fact that the Padres were wearing throwback uniforms. It was "Salute to the Negro Leagues" night, and the Padres wore 1948 Padres Pacific Coast League uniforms. This is a stretch -- the given reason for that is that San Diego native Johnny Ritchey broke the PCL color barrier while playing for the Padres that season. It had nothing to do with the Negro Leagues themselves. But at least while I was watching, Len and Bob never mentioned this fact, nor the glaringly obvious fact that the Cubs didn't join in this salute -- something that visiting teams generally do as a matter of courtesy to the home team.
I'm going to try to put some positive spin on this game. The pitching staff put up another excellent outing. Marshall's ERA is now fifteenth in the NL among all pitchers who qualify. The ballclub, as I mentioned, did take advantage of Mike Piazza by stealing five bases, including Matt Murton's first two steals of the year. Ramirez homered for the first time in nine games (and 31 AB). Cubs pitching has now allowed three earned runs in their last 21 innings.
Look, it's all we have right now, right? Especially if I add these facts from the AP story on the game:
I'll leave this post with better news. My son Mark's team has begun Park District play. This year, at least he's on a team I don't hate -- the Mariners. Last night they beat the Giants 22-10 (if that sounds good, it was 22-4 going into the last inning). Yes, the way the Cubs are playing, the Park District Mariners could probably have beat them yesterday.