Eight years ago, a highly-touted first-round pick Cubs rookie starter struck out ten in his major league debut.
It happened again last night, although Thomas Diamond wasn't a Cubs first-round pick (the Rangers took him with the 10th overall pick in 2004), and instead of being highly touted, it's taken three years of work since Tommy John surgery for Diamond to come back and make his major league debut at age 27.
21-year-old Mark Prior struck out ten in his debut on May 22, 2002 and Diamond matched that mark last night; they are the only two Cubs starters to do so in their debut since 1920. Oddly enough, it was also last night that Prior made a "re-debut" of sorts, pitching for the Orange County Flyers in the independent Golden Baseball League.
Diamond also became the first player in the history of major league baseball with that surname (ha ha, first Diamond on the diamond), and threw six credible innings, but the Cubs lost again, 4-3 to the Brewers, their seventh consecutive defeat.
It looked like someone was tripping Cubs runners as they rounded first base last night. Derrek Lee hit what would have been an easy standup double in the first inning; it scored Starlin Castro from first base, but D-Lee tripped over first base and had to stay there. And then Castro inexplicably took off for second on a routine ground ball single to center in the ninth inning -- it scored Mike Fontenot, who had doubled into the left-center field gap as a pinch-hitter.
Castro slipped and fell rounding first base and was caught in a rundown and tagged out. There was no reason for him to try for second with only one out and the middle of the order coming up (although the way the middle of the order has hit this year...) -- that left no one on base and two out and D-Lee struck out to end the game.
The Cubs are now 13-25 in one-run games; that's the most one-run games in the major leagues this year and the most losses. Those can be attributed to two things, I think: a lack of timely hitting (the Cubs left nine on base last night, for example) and some bullpen meltdowns.
Incidentally, there were three assists on the Castro play in the ninth inning (throws from Jim Edmonds to Alcides Escobar to Prince Fielder to Rickie Weeks, who made the putout). Before that there had been only five assists in the entire game. If not for the Castro play, that would have set a new National League record for fewest combined assists by both teams.
Speaking of records, I wanted to weigh in on the front page on what was posted in this FanShot late yesterday afternoon; the Brewers apparently called the press box and asked for a scoring change on what was clearly a throwing error by Castro on a Casey McGehee ground ball. This was done when the Brewers were ahead 18-1 and apparently, for the sole purpose of getting a 27th hit in the books and breaking the Cubs' team record for hits allowed.
What an utterly classless thing to do. Good for official scorer Bob Rosenberg for saying no.
The game preview for this afternoon's series finale will post at 11:30 am CDT.