Since some here seem to be enamored of my tendency to sometimes ask way too many rhetorical questions, let me start the recap of the Cubs' 4-3 loss to the Phillies with one.
Is it worse to lose by one run when you've led for most of the game and nearly take the lead again in the ninth on a long foul ball, or lose by six runs and get blown out?
And death is not an option.
Seriously, don't answer that rhetorical question. Both are bad. Both feel bad in different ways. Both add exactly one mark to the loss column. (Consider, the Cubs could be the Blue Jays, who have lost their last two games to the Red Sox by the combined score of 30-5.)
The Cubs actually managed to score three runs off Roy Oswalt in the first inning Sunday afternoon, including a two-run homer by Aramis Ramirez, his fourth. A-Ram is now on pace for 10. That's the good news. The bad news is, the Cubs had only three singles the rest of the way, one of them a last-gasp effort by Koyie Hill with two out in the ninth. Geovany Soto then hit a baseball a very long way; unfortunately, it curved foul and was not a two-run homer that would have given the Cubs the lead. Soto then hit a popup that Chase Utley made a nice grab on to end the game.
Doug Davis wasn't bad today, giving up two runs in five innings. Doug Davis wasn't good today, walking five in five innings. His ridiculously slow curveball helped him register six strikeouts. If Sean Marshall had been the pitcher he has been up until yesterday, maybe we'd be celebrating (and yes, "celebrating" is a relative term) a 3-2 win and a series split.
It's been almost a year -- since July 30 and 31, 2010 at Colorado against the Rockies -- since Marshall has given up runs in consecutive appearances. But he did so yesterday and today, and the two runs he was charged with on Sunday were the difference in the game. Too bad, because the rest of the bullpen did a pretty good job of keeping things close.
The Cubs are now 2-19 in games started by Davis, James Russell, Rodrigo Lopez and Casey Coleman. Even league-average pitching and splitting those 21 games -- say, going 10-11 instead of 2-19 -- would have the Cubs eight games better than they are and still in contention. That's clearly not the only issue with this team, but it would have helped.
The Cubs also waved goodbye, after a fashion, to the Minnesota Twins, whose win Sunday afternoon gave them a better record than the Cubs, by half a game (and don't count the Twins out of their division race, either). Only the continued bad play of the Houston Astros -- who are 20-40 in games played against teams other than the Cubs -- keeps the Cubs from the worst record in baseball. Since defeating the Red Sox in Boston on May 21, the Cubs are 5-14.
And what do we get as a reward? To play the hottest team in the majors the next four days. The Brewers' win over the Cardinals Sunday afternoon put them in first place by half a game. Since they lost seven in a row from April 30-May 6, the Brewers are 25-9.
Oh, and as if all of that isn't enough, check out this tweet that just came in from Carrie Muskat:
#Cubs Kerry Wood has blister on right index finger and may need to go on DL. Expect a few roster moves on Monday
What else? Seriously, what else? Have we not suffered enough? Had enough for now? Had enough rhetorical questions for now? Me too. Catch you tomorrow.