Look at it this way: it's April 29, 20 games into the season, and the Cubs don't have to go back to Chase Field again this year.
Well, unless it's the playoffs and in that case I think we'd all be happy to go back there and get some revenge for today's 10-0 shutout at the hands of the D'backs.
Seriously. Looking at the slop that Doug Davis was throwing all day, you can do three things with it:
- Look at it land outside the strike zone
- Hit it a long, long way
- Swing and miss miserably
Unfortunately, today the Cubs selected choice 3. Davis barely threw more strikes than balls, but the Cubs had only two dinky little singles off him and he made the middle of the lineup look awful; the 3-4-5-6 hitters today did manage to draw three walks off Davis, but otherwise couldn't do a thing. Meanwhile, Ryan Dempster was channeling the 2001-vintage Dempster (you know, the guy who led the NL with 112 walks) with a 27-pitch first inning. Dempster threw six innings for the fifth consecutive start -- all five this year, in fact -- but allowed five earned runs and issued three walks, the fourth straight outing where he's walked at least three. Even though Dempster eventually wound up throwing 61 strikes in 97 pitches -- that's good -- the two extra-base hits (a double and homer) he gave up to Chad Tracy accounted for more than enough runs to win the game. Justin Upton put the game out of reach in the 7th inning with a bases-clearing double. (Wasn't it someone here who suggested the Cubs inquire about Tracy's availability, considering he can play third base?)
To add injury (possibly) to insult, Carlos Marmol looked terrible, throwing only five strikes in 22 pitches and walking four, including two with the bases loaded. Is the knee injury he suffered over the weekend worse than we could have imagined? And Kevin Gregg wasn't hurt and also issued three walks -- that was ten altogether for the staff today. That s ... well, that's not good.
The game-time temperature was reported as 88 degrees; I can't remember the last time I saw a regular season day game played -- by anyone -- in Phoenix with the roof open (I went to one, an exhibition game between the Cubs and D'backs before the 2003 season; during the Opening Day game in 2005 they had the roof open for the pregame ceremonies, but closed it for the game). Chase Field looks strange in sunshine.
Still, I am not concerned. Wait, that's not right. Yes, I am concerned. The Cubs have to get healthy -- and then they have to start scoring runs on a consistent basis. Milton Bradley, you can tell, is still not 100% -- he wasn't running at full strength going after Upton's double, and that has to be because his leg is still bothering him. Still, at this point I think he has to get out there and play. The Cubs are 10-10 -- that's .500 on the road, which is good; they didn't go over .500 in road games in 2008 until their sweep of the Brewers in Milwaukee in July. But their 4-4 mark at home isn't reflective of the talent this team has.
Enough for now. Tonight, go take a walk around your neighborhood or see a movie or do something else to forget about this awful game. The Cubs are home tomorrow and things have to get better.