Why did I choose to put that photo of the Wrigley Field scoreboard at the top of this post about the Cubs’ 18-1 loss to the Brewers on August 2, 2010?
Take a careful look at it. What’s out of place?
If you can’t guess, here’s the answer. At the bottom of the iconic board, team hits are tracked by yellow numbers. But the “26” showing the Brewers’ hit total is in white. Why? Because the board operators don’t have any yellow numbers larger than 25. They had to take one of the umpire numbers, which are white, to designate Milwaukee’s hit total. In 2010, Bill Miller (who wasn’t one of the umpires assigned to that game) was umpire No. 26.
As you can also see by the board, this game was scoreless until the fourth, when the Brewers started pounding the ball all over the yard. Three different Brewers had at least four hits and two of them had five. Only one home run was hit, by former Cub Casey McGehee.
The Cubs’ only run scored on an RBI groundout by Aramis Ramirez.
At the time, using position players in blowouts still wasn’t really a thing, so Brian Schlitter — who is still around, he was at spring training with the Athletics this year! — threw the last inning of this game and allowed the 26th hit. Among other things, Schlitter faced reliever Trevor Hoffman, who had not batted in nine years. Schlitter struck him out [VIDEO].
(The photo at the top of this post was taken during Hoffman’s at-bat.)
The hit total came one short of the franchise record for hits allowed in a game. Cubs pitching allowed 27 hits in a 19-7 loss to the Giants (August 5, 1922) and again to the Giants in a 15-7 loss September 21, 1931.
This loss to the Brewers was part of a stretch in which the Cubs went 5-20. After the 20th loss of that run, Lou Piniella retired as manager. Cubs pitching allowed 16 or more runs in three of those 20 defeats. No wonder Lou wanted out.
Here is Mike Bojanowski’s scorecard from that night. (Mine is presently inaccessible.) Click here for a larger version.