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Cubs historical sleuthing: 2010s edition

A blast from the recent past.

This photo comes to us via BCB regular Vermont Cubs Fan.

When you have a full scoreboard, that makes things much easier to sleuth. Still, clues are needed.

The first clue is the Toyota sign at the left of the photo. That was installed, to much consternation, in June 2010. It finally came down during the second bleacher reconstruction, which began after the 2014 season. So that narrows things down to four and a half seasons.

The Cardinals are the opponent, and “So come on down to Wrigley Field” is on the message board beneath the scoreboard. That’s part of the lyrics of “Go Cubs Go,” so the Cubs have obviously just won the game, a fact confirmed by the 5-0 final score that’s in the process of being posted.

When did the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-0 at Wrigley in this time frame?

Twice, actually, but this game happened Friday, July 23, 2010. The pitcher numbers confirm it: That’s Randy Wells for the Cubs and Jeff Suppan for the Cardinals. Wells threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and striking out seven, and Sean Marshall finished up with two scoreless frames.

Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano all homered off Suppan to provide most of the offense that afternoon, in front of a full house of 40,687.

2010 was a weird interregnum year; the team had dropped off its division-winning 97 wins to 83 victories in 2009, and Jim Hendry was desperately flailing around looking to get back into contention. After the first 20 games of the season the Cubs were at .500 at 10-10, but then dropped 12 of 18 to fall into fifth place. After taking the first two games of the July series vs. St. Louis they were 9½ games out of first place, but that was a mirage — they followed that by losing 21 of the next 27 and after a dreadful 16-5 loss to the Braves August 21, Lou Piniella abruptly announced his retirement.

At that point in the season, the Cubs were on pace for 96 losses; only the dead-cat bounce of Mike Quade’s managerial debut, a 24-13 record, prevented that.

Mike Quade. Remember him? That was only a decade ago. Seems longer.