The headline to this recap is a famous phrase once uttered by Casey Stengel when watching his expansion Mets play, and this Cubs team might be worse than that one, and that’s no joke.
Zach Davies deserved better.
Frank Schwindel, who hit a bases-clearing double, deserved better.
Codi Heuer, in the first setup opportunity for a Cubs pitcher in 10 days, deserved better.
Heck, the whole Cubs team, not to mention we-the-fanbase, deserve better.
But all we got was another sad loss, the Cubs’ 10th straight, 5-4 to the Marlins, all five Miami runs unearned as a result of three errors by Sergio Alcántara, whose strength is supposed to be his fielding. (It’s certainly not his hitting, not with a .611 OPS and 35 strikeouts in 135 plate appearances.)
Over the first few innings, Davies was having the best outing he’d had since he threw six no-hit innings in the Cubs’ combined no-hitter against the Dodgers almost two months ago, but several odd occurrences happened during that time, including a catcher’s interference call.
No one scored in the first three frames, but Rafael Ortega led off the fourth with what appeared at first to be a triple [VIDEO].
The ball appeared to get stuck under the padding in right-center, and Marlins right fielder Bryan De La Cruz played the ball. If that happens in the Wrigley Field ivy, it’s a live ball. But as Pat Hughes explained well on the broadcast, MLB rules call for a ball that gets stuck in a fence — and it clearly does, under the padding — it’s a double.
One out later, Patrick Wisdom made that call moot [VIDEO].
Wisdom’s single made it 1-0 Cubs, and the way Davies was pitching, it looked like that lead might actually hold up. Another odd thing that happened while Davies was on the mound: Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson hit a ground ball and was frustrated with himself and thrw his bat down — and it promptly bounced up and hit him, resulting in an easy double play [VIDEO].
Pat Hughes said it again, and I agree — I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
With two out in the sixth, which was clearly going to be Davies’ last inning as he was approaching 100 pitches, Jesus Aguilar walked with two out. Brinson then hit a ball to Alcántara, who had plenty of time to throw to second to force Aguilar (a very slow runner), but instead rushed this throw and it went into right field, with all runners safe.
What happened next was utterly predictable: The next hitter, Brian Anderson, smashed a three-run homer, all three runs unearned.
As I said above: Davies deserved better.
The Cubs, though, did not give up. Austin Romine singled leading off the eighth, and two outs later Matt Duffy singled and Ortega walked, and that brought up Schwindel [VIDEO].
You know, I’ve been a little dismissive of Schwindel, but the guy has hit. Small sample size, to be sure, but... he’s certainly taken advantage of the opportunity to play nearly every day. Let’s see what happens going forward.
That three-run double accomplished this:
This is the first time the #Cubs have had a lead in the eighth inning or later since the last time they won a game (August 4)— Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) August 15, 2021
That lead lasted less than half an inning, again thanks to Alcántara fielding miscues. Jazz Chisholm Jr. led off the bottom of the eighth with a double and then Codi Heuer recorded an out, and got two ground balls to Alcántara, both of which were booted, the second leading to the tying run [VIDEO].
You can’t give a team extra outs like that. The inning should have been over — Heuer did his job. Magneuris Sierra followed with an RBI single to give Miami a 5-4 lead. All five Marlins runs were unearned.
Anthony Bender shut the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the ninth and there it was, 10 losses in a row, two 10+ game losing streaks in a season for the first time in Cubs history. If you missed the game preview for this one, I listed all the teams in MLB history that had two (or more) double-digit losing streaks in a season, so here they are again:
The following teams had two (or more) 10-game losing streaks in a single season, along with their final records: 1902 Giants (48-88), 1903 Cardinals (43-94), 1909 Braves (45-108), 1916 Athletics (three, 36-117), 1919 Phillies (47-90), 1935 Braves (38-115), 1962 Mets (three, 40-120), 1963 Mets (51-111), 1998 Marlins (54-108), 2002 Orioles (67-95), 2003 Tigers (43-119), 2006 Royals (62-100).
As you can see, all of those teams are among the worst in MLB history. Overall those ballclubs total a .312 winning percentage, equivalent to a 51-111 MLB 162-game season.
That is just... bad. Like, really bad. For Sunday’s game preview (a tease!) I’m going to go through that list and eliminate all the teams whose second losing streak was “only” 10 games. That’ll be the group the Cubs will be trying to avoid joining Sunday afternoon. (Another tease: I accidentally left a couple of teams off that list. Find out who they are in Sunday’s game preview.)
Alec Mills will start for the Cubs Sunday. At this writing the Marlins do not have a listed starting pitcher. Hopefully, a name will be available before Sunday’s game preview posts at 10:30 a.m. CT. Game time Sunday is 12:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.