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Padres 19, Cubs 5: What a pathetic excuse for a baseball team


Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, I used to be disgusted.
And now I try to be amused

— Elvis Costello, “The Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes”

There are a number of ways I could have approached this game recap (and trust me, I thought about almost all of them).

I thought of coming here and simply saying:

The Cubs lost to the Padres 19-5, and the teams will play again Thursday afternoon.”

... and just ending things there.

Would you have been amused?

That’s about all we have left, isn’t it? I mean, I lived through two 100+ loss Cubs seasons in the 1960s, though I probably didn’t understand the true meaning of them back then. I lived through a 98-loss season in 1980 and what likely would have been a franchise record for losses in 1981 if not for the strike and this is what that feels like, the end of the Wrigley ownership era with guys like Joe Strain and Mike Lum on the team.

I mean, why is Daniel Norris still on this team? Why is Andrelton Simmons still wearing a Cubs uniform?

The word “pathetic” appears in the headline here and that’s exactly how I feel about the Cubs’ nine-game losing streak, during which they have been outscored 84-26, the equivalent of losing every one of those nine games by a 9-3 score. It was the third time this year the Cubs have allowed at least 18 runs in a game, which matches a franchise record set in 1975.

I’m kind of doing stream-of-consciousness here so you’ll forgive me if the rest of this seems a bit disjointed. It seems rather worthless, don’t you think, for me to recount the parade of Padres runners who crossed the plate or give a play-by-play of the annihilation against Cubs pitchers. The Padres went 11-for-19 with RISP. The Cubs have had 11 hits with RISP ... in this entire losing streak, in 94 at-bats, which is... do you really care about the exact batting average? “Awful” should suffice.

Fine, have some highlights. The Cubs actually had a lead in this game after Caleb Kilian got touched up for two runs in the first.

Thing is, two of their four runs in the second inning scored on bases-loaded walks. I mean... that’s not really worth watching, is it?

The other two scored on this single by Christopher Morel [VIDEO].

So that was good.

Kilian gave the lead back in the fourth and the game was basically over, even though the Cubs trailed by just one at the time.

This is where I again say, “Why is Daniel Norris still on this team?” because Norris faced four batters and didn’t retire any of them. (This is becoming a theme, Mychal Givens did that on Tuesday.)

Does anyone in the Cubs front office have an answer to that question? (Don’t answer that.)

Morel provided some more brief excitement when he homered in the sixth [VIDEO].

Then the Padres scored some more runs off Alec Mills, and why on Earth Mills wasn’t the first guy out of the pen in this game is beyond me. Eric Stout had the only scoreless outing by a Cubs pitcher on the night, and while I suppose that’s good, will any of you even remember that Eric Stout was a Cub five years from now? (Nothing personal to Eric, who I am sure is a nice guy, and his family will remember, since they’re from the Chicago area.)

At 16-5 in the ninth inning, we got entertained by the Frank Schwindel Pitching Show again, and I know some of you are tired of the position player pitching thing and if the Cubs had better real pitchers we wouldn’t see this, but come on, tell me this is not amusing:

A 32 mile per hour pitch. (And trust me, Gameday, that was not a “curveball.”) I would say that most every BCB reader can throw a baseball that fast. Frank Schwindel is everyman! On the mound, he is the physical embodiment of any baseball fan thinking, “I can do that!” Because yes, you almost certainly can do that!

Then Luke Voit hit a home run off Frank The Tank that went a long, long, LONG way:

That, my friends, was the longest home run hit at Wrigley Field this year. (So far, anyway.) Also, again, Gameday, that was not a “slider.”

How can you not be amused? Because if you don’t laugh about something like that... it just gets too depressing.

It is a baseball axiom that no team is as bad as it looks when they are on a long losing streak. This streak, though, is testing that statement’s limits.

The thing I really can’t figure out about the post-2021 selloff Cubs is why they are so bad at Wrigley Field. Since the 2021 selloff:

Cubs at home: 19-44
Cubs on road: 25-32

Even the horrid 1980 and 1981 Cubs, to whom I referred earlier in this recap, were at least sort of close to .500 at Wrigley:

1980-81 Cubs at home: 64-74
1980-81 Cubs on road: 38-89

It’s like opposite day, only for an entire year.

Sorry for the mess here, but this team is a mess and I do know this: Cubs ownership and management is going to have to do something about the deplorable state of their baseball team next offseason, or they risk blowing up a fanbase it has taken several decades of careful cultivation to amass.

Wait, one more thing: When the game ended, for the second straight night, Wrigley Field’s organist played “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” by Crowded House. The song’s refrain goes:

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

I mean, COME ON. That’s just adding insult to insult.

All right, now I’m done with this recap. Hope it was better than the game. Oh, one more thing: The Reds lost too, so for now, the Cubs avoid last place in the NL Central.

The Cubs will attempt to avoid a four-game sweep by the Padres Thursday afternoon. Matt Swarmer will start for the Cubs and Joe Musgrove will go for San Diego. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. It should be noted that the Cubs have been swept in a four-game series by the Padres only twice, in San Diego in 2006 and at Wrigley in 2010. Personally, I’d like that statement to remain true after today’s game.