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The Story Of Yet Another 2012 Cubs Defeat

Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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I have, in the past, sat and written recaps to Cubs losses while the late innings were going on, posting them the very second the game ended.

Today, I decided to hang out in the game thread with you and someone suggested I try to beat my own personal record for rapid recap posting. To do that, I'd have had to do it before the game even ended. Which might not have been a bad idea -- if I'd posted a recap saying the Cubs lost 3-2 to the Brewers in, say, the bottom of the seventh inning, I wouldn't have been wrong, because they did, in fact, lose 3-2 to the Brewers.

You already know the raw numbers: 47-76 record. But have you taken note of these:

  • 11-21 in one-run games
  • 3-16 on the road since the All-Star break
  • 457 runs, which is currently not last in the NL, but will be if the Astros score two tonight. The Cubs are scoring 3.72 runs per game; that would give them 602 for the season, which would be the lowest total in a non-strike season since 1963 -- right in the middle of a pitcher's era (and that team won 82 games)

Enough. It appears the beat writers had enough, too; look at what they were doing during the game:

The game itself? Not much to tell. David DeJesus led off the game with a home run. That's good. For a while it looked like that would be it for Cubs scoring, but Bryan LaHair homered in the seventh, his first home run since July 4. In between, though, the Brewers scored three runs off Travis Wood, the third, and as it turned out, the decisive run being Ryan Braun's 34th home run of the season. Truth be told, Wood didn't pitch too badly, giving up just three runs in seven innings, one of his better outings of late.

The Cubs managed just three other hits off Brewers pitching. Let's do a roll call!

  • Single by Starlin Castro (4th inning)
  • Single by Anthony Rizzo (4th inning)
  • Single by Steve Clevenger (9th inning)

All that last hit did was delay the inevitable, as Brett Jackson was the next hitter. He struck out to end it. Hey, this year's Cubs are good for something: they appear to have given Brewers closer John Axford his confidence back. Axford saved the last two games of the series, and the Cubs have to face these guys four times next week at Wrigley Field. Amazingly enough, Cubs hitters aren't even close to last in strikeouts in the NL (they rank seventh-best, even after K'ing 13 times today), but they are dead last in walks (eight fewer than the Pirates at this writing).

On the right sidebar I've been keeping track of the Cubs' road record. They still need to win one more (of 16 remaining) road game to avoid tying the MLB record for worst road record during the time of the 162-game schedule. It's still possible for the Cubs to go 0-16 on the road in their remaining road schedule, although maybe by mere chance they win a game in Houston or Denver.

What they are likely to do is break the team record for worst road mark, set in 1997: 26-55. They'd have to go 9-7 just to tie that mark, and 10-6 to make sure they don't break it. I think you can see how unlikely that is to happen.

So the Cubs come home Friday to face the Rockies, a team that they now lead by 2½ games in the reverse standings (pending Colorado's game against the Mets tonight). Do we root for the Cubs to win, which they might (the Rox are 22-34 on the road), or to keep losing?

Existential question, I know. I don't root for losses, yet I have become somewhat used to them. Hopefully this changes, soon. It's not a lot of fun, and I'm sure it's even less fun for the players.

Enjoy the off day. At least you know the Cubs won't lose.