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Padres 12, Cubs 5: Can’t anybody here play this game?


Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

If you’ve been around baseball long enough — and most here have, I’d think — you’ll recognize the headline here as coming from the very quotable Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel. Stengel said it during spring training for his very first Mets team, the 1962 club which wound up losing 120 games.

The 2022 Chicago Cubs aren’t that bad. At least I don’t think they are, not even after Tuesday’s 12-5 loss to the Padres at Wrigley Field, their eighth consecutive defeat. During the streak the Cubs have been outscored 62-24, and over the last four games it’s 42-10. Since June 3, the Cubs are 1-9, been outscored 80-32, and allowed seven or more runs six times.

I already used “embarrassing” twice over the weekend in recapping a pair of, well, embarrassing losses to the Yankees.

This one, though? Let’s check out some synonyms for “embarrassing” from the folks at

bewildering, disagreeable, distressing, disturbing, exasperating, shameful, troubling, unseemly, upsetting, worrisome

And that’s just a few. I could use a few other words that only belong in game threads here. You probably used some of the same, I’d think, after the fifth inning of this game, which actually started out like it was going to be very good for the boys of Wrigley.

Kyle Hendricks gave up a bloop single that dropped among three Cubs fielders, but then struck out the side in the first inning.

Willson Contreras gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning [VIDEO].

The opposite-field blast was his 11th of the year.

With two out in the third, Christopher Morel walked and Willson did it again [VIDEO].

So that’s good, a 3-0 lead. It become 4-0 in the fourth. Ian Happ singled and Nico Hoerner smacked a triple to right-center [VIDEO].

The Cubs made it 5-0 in the fifth. Contreras led off with a double and went to third on a single by Patrick Wisdom. After the Padres removed starter Sean Manaea, Willson scored on this groundout by Frank Schwindel [VIDEO].

While all that was going on, Hendricks was mowing down Padres. He did allow a pair of hits in the fifth, but got out of the inning by striking out Trent Grisham. Overall, Kyle struck out six [VIDEO].

This is where we needed heavy rain and an inability to continue, because the game simply spun completely out of control after that. Hendricks came out to start the sixth having thrown 73 pitches. It seemed clear he was in the game until he allowed a baserunner, and Jake Cronenworth led off with a double, so David Ross went to Chris Martin.

I will spare you details of the carnage that followed. Suffice to say that Martin, Scott Effross, Mychal Givens, Brandon Hughes and newcomer Eric Stout were awful, all of them, even Hughes, who was not charged with a run but who allowed a two-run single and sac fly, runs charged to Givens (who walked three of the four hitters he faced).

The sum total for the bullpen: four innings, 11 hits, five walks, 12 runs. It got so bad that the remnants of the Wrigley Field crowd started booing the Cubs in the seventh. This is something I don’t advocate, booing your own team’s players, unless it’s for a perceived lack of effort. There was no such lack of effort here, there was simply poor performance.

To return to Stengel and his 1962 Mets for a moment: As I said earlier, these Cubs aren’t that bad — at least I hope they aren’t. But ... let’s stop for a comparison between these 2022 Cubs and the 1962 and 1966 editions of the North Siders, who both lost a franchise-record 103 games. After 61 games:

2022 Cubs: 23-38
1966 Cubs: 20-41
1962 Cubs: 20-41

That’s ... not all that much different. And those long-ago Cubs teams had popular and marketable stars, as I noted in my “State of the Cubs” message the other day. This year’s club has one such guy, Willson Contreras, and they appear about to trade him. How that helps this franchise is beyond me. I don’t think this team will lose 103 games, but...

Anyway, Hendricks pitched well, so that’s good. The rest... not so much. But I did want to show you a couple of changeups that looked like vintage Professor:

On a very hot evening, the paid attendance was listed as 29,233, which was more than two thousand fewer than the previous night. This isn’t going to get any better, either.

David Ross announced after the game that Caleb Kilian would start Wednesday night’s game against the Padres. This will require an injury list placement for someone else, because Kilian hasn’t stayed in the minor leagues for the required 15 days (if there’s an injury, that requirement is waived). So... either the Cubs put Nick Madrigal on the IL (he hasn’t played since Friday), which would give them 14 pitchers, or one of the pitchers winds up with something requiring an IL stint. As always, we await developments. How about a terrible pun announcing the Padres Wednesday night starter to wrap up this recap?

Game time tonight is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.