How many times I’ve wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it, think of it
You just got to do your own thing
A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world — Brook Benton, “Rainy Night In Georgia”
Not that the rain had much, or anything, to do with the Cubs’ 9-4 loss to the Braves Thursday night, their fifth defeat in a row, but it made the loss seem even more depressing than it actually was.
You might have turned this game off after the disastrous fifth inning, and no one would have blamed you.
However, you are here to read a recap of the Cubs’ previous game, and so you shall have one.
This game was actually going along reasonably well, despite Max Fried taking a perfect game into the sixth inning. Through four innings, Yu Darvish had allowed just four hits, a couple of walks (one intentional) and one run. His velocity and location were much better than in his first start, and it looked like the Cubs might eventually break through and win this one. The fourth inning included this heads-up defensive play [VIDEO].
Then that awful fifth happened. There were a whole bunch of hits and walks, I don’t suppose you really need the details, do you? All you need to know is that Darvish and Carl Edwards Jr. completely lost the strike zone, and on the rare occasion when they found it in that inning, Braves hitters smashed baseballs a long way. Five runs scored, and the game was essentially over at that point.
Darvish has thrown 6⅔ innings this season and issued 11 walks. That’s mind-boggling. The only other MLB pitcher in double figures in walks (10) is Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks, who has thrown four more innings than Darvish. Cubs pitchers have walked 41 this year, five more than the second-worst D-backs — who have played one more game. The Cubs’ team WHIP is 2.047 — that’s more than two baserunners per inning, every single inning they have played so far this year. No other team’s WHIP is higher than 1.71. Oh, and:
46 runs allowed by #Cubs this season are the most they have allowed in the first 6 games of a season since they allowed 57 in 1901— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 5, 2019
Oddly enough, with all the walks (six more of them in this game), Tyler Chatwood threw two innings without issuing a walk. That’s the first appearance of Chatwood’s Cubs career (26 total games) in which he did not walk anyone. So that’s something, I guess.
The Cubs scored some consolation runs in the ninth, including two on this monstrous home run by Anthony Rizzo [VIDEO].
Javier Baez followed Rizzo to the plate and also sent a baseball out of the yard [VIDEO].
The Cubs scored a fourth run in the ninth inning on an RBI groundout after a pair of walks, and that might have actually meant something if Mike Montgomery hadn’t been touched up for three runs in the seventh and eighth. Montgomery’s spring debut was delayed because of a minor shoulder issue and I have to wonder if that’s still bothering him. In four appearances and 2⅔ innings this year, MiMo has allowed nine baserunners (eight hits and a walk) and two home runs. Perhaps an IL stint is needed here?
All the walks have made for games that have dragged on and on:
The 6 #Cubs games this season (all 9-inning games) have averaged 3:29— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 5, 2019
And that’s with the home team not batting in the ninth inning in four of the six games.
This is some of the worst baseball the Cubs have played since they returned to contention in 2015, though I should remind you that even during the 103-win World Series season in 2016, they had a stretch where they lost nine of 10 and were outscored 71-42. Even with the pitching in seeming total disarray, this year’s Cubs are not having trouble hitting. They are leading the N.L. in BA (.307) and OBP (.398) and have scored 36 runs in six games, averaging six runs per game. Normally, you’d think that would be enough for a lot of winning, but not when you’re allowing almost eight runs per game (46 total runs allowed).
It’s almost as if these guys have simply forgotten how to play baseball since they left Mesa.
At this point all they can do is try to shake it off and play better this weekend, though that will certainly not be easy against a good Brewers team that’s off to a 6-1 start.
Jose Quintana, who has an excellent career mark against the Brew Crew (and who flew ahed to Milwaukee earlier Thursday so he didn’t have to arrive with the team at 1:45 a.m. Friday), will go for the Cubs in the series opener Friday against Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff. Game time is 7:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage Friday will be via WGN.
It has to get better. It can’t get worse. Right? Right?