They have lost all eight series and their combined record against these two clubs is now 7-17; having dropped back to 10 games under .500 again with today's dreadful 8-1 loss in Houston, that means that the Cubs' record against every one else in the major leagues is 39-39.
Does this make any sense to you? Usually a team that's struggling like the Cubs are plays up to or down to its competition -- meaning they'd dominate the bad teams and play .500 ball against the good ones. They've lived up to the second part of that old saying... but not the first.
It got so bad during the telecast that Len & Bob started talking about random things that had nothing to do with the game. Len sounded depressed and Bob sounded bored, like both of them couldn't wait to get to Denver to spend their off day there. And I can hardly blame them.
The Cubs started a spring-training type lineup with Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano all sitting it out. Soto had a doctor's note, and the rest were given the day off by Lou, and they played like a spring-training squad.
Randy Wells threw well enough for the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. Still, when he was taken out for James Russell (who got out of the sixth without further incident), the score was only 3-1.
Brian Schlitter and Bob Howry proceeded to put the game out of reach. One of these pitchers will be removed from the 25-man roster when Carlos Zambrano is activated from the restricted list on Friday, and it might as well be both of them. Schlitter is clearly not major-league ready (he's now got a 12.00 ERA in six major league innings), and Howry, after throwing reasonably well his first month back in a Cubs uniform, has a 12.46 ERA for the month of July; in 8.2 innings he's allowed 19 hits, 12 earned runs, and... enough already. Thank him for his service and bring up someone else -- anyone else -- from Iowa.
Enough is right. I'll close with a note that Chris Jaffe of Hardball Times sent me: 80 years ago today, a significant note in Cubs history occurred:
It was on this day - July 28 - in 1930, in a doubleheader against the Reds that Cub slugger Hack Wilson belted his 100th, 101st, and 102nd RBIs of the season, en route to his still-existing MLB record of 191 RBIs in a season. For context, Miguel Cabrera currently leads all MLB (by a fairly healthy margin) with 88 RBIs, which is 11 below where Wilson began his July 28.
Actually, given how many runs Wilson batted in his big season, he was actually off to a bit of a slow start. He had 102 RBIs after 98 games, brought home 89 more in the last 58 games the Cubs played that year. There's a reason no one's ever seriously challenged this record.
1930, of course, was a hitter's season -- the entire National League hit over .300 -- but to give some more context, the Cubs played their 102nd game today, only four more than Wilson had played through getting to 102 RBI. The Cubs' leader in RBI today is Soriano, who has 54, barely more than half Wilson's total.
This team needs help. Maybe they'll get some future help by dealing before Saturday's deadline, but as of this writing, nothing has happened. Try to enjoy the off day tomorrow.