Which of these numbers does not belong?
3, 1, 0, 2, 10, 0
That one's pretty easy. It's the runs the Cubs have scored in each of their last six games. Obviously, the "10" is the outlier -- the Cubs have now been shut out in two of their last four and have scored six total runs in the non-10-run game. In fact, let's extend that sequence:
2, 4, 0, 4, 1, 1, 0, 2, 4, 3, 1, 0, 2, 10, 0
Apart from the three-game sweep of the Padres at Wrigley Field last week, those are the Cubs' run totals in each game since May 16. Take out the 10-run game, and that's 24 total runs in 14 games, an average of 1.7 per game. Even with the 10 runs included, that's 34 runs in 15 games, an average of 2.27 per game, which isn't going to win you very much -- and the 10-run game is the only win in that sequence.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Chicago Cubs, who were shut out by the Milwaukee Brewers 8-0 Wednesday night, just 24 hours after they themselves had blanked the Brew Crew.
There isn't a whole lot to tell about this game, since the Cubs barely showed up, but there are two other numbers from Wednesday night that are important:
That's the number of hits the Cubs had: a single by Starlin Castro, a single by Ian Stewart (who's still under the Mendoza Line at .199) and a double by Alfonso Soriano. In addition, Stewart, DeJesus and Darwin Barney walked. That was it for the offense.
For the second straight night, Cubs hitters struck out 14 or more times. The 15 on Wednesday night gave them 420 for the year as hitters, which, interestingly enough, isn't anywhere near the most in the National League; it ranks 11th, 38 behind the Mets, who have the most (458). But piling them up the way they have the last couple of days, it might not be too long before they're on top of this undesirable heap.
The way Zack Greinke pitched Wednesday night, it wasn't likely the Cubs were going to win anyway. In three career starts vs. the Cubs at Miller Park, Greinke has now thrown 21⅓ innings, allowed nine hits, seven walks and one earned run (ERA 0.42, WHIP 0.75) and struck out 28. On the other hand, in two career starts at Wrigley Field, Greinke has thrown nine innings, allowed 17 hits and 14 earned runs (ERA 14.00). I can't think of any pitcher in recent history who has such bizarrely different splits against the same team in two different ballparks.
That's about the most interesting thing I can come up with regarding Wednesday night's game. Oh, there is one other thing -- Manuel Corpas made his Cubs debut and threw a really nice inning, with some good movement on his pitches. At 29, he still has a chance to come back and be the pitcher he was for the 2007 Rockies. Maybe the Cubs pulled off a decent scrap-heap pickup here. Carlos Marmol, on the other hand, was awful again. This time, he decided to not walk anyone, instead giving up a pair of singles and Taylor Green's first major league homer. Ugh.
Meanwhile, themed recaps are coming back soon if this team doesn't at least get interesting. Or maybe even if it does. The game preview for Thursday afternoon's series finale will post at 11 a.m. CDT.