Oh, I used to be disgusted
And now I try to be amused
But since their wings have got rusted
You know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes — Elvis Costello
Angels in red shoes? Check.
Me, formerly disgusted, now amused? Well... nope. I’m still pretty disgusted after the Cubs’ 7-4 loss to the Angels Tuesday night.
How many times have we seen this in 2023? That’s a rhetorical question, but I’m going to answer it anyway. It’s the 15th time the Cubs have had a lead in a game and blown it. It wasn’t the biggest one — the Cubs have one blown five-run lead this year — but it was enough to really, really frustrate me. You too, I’m guessing.
This game started out so well, too. Hayden Wesneski was dealing. And the Cubs took a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Seiya Suzuki singled and was doubled to third by Yan Gomes. One out later, this Mike Tauchman single scored both of them [VIDEO].
Patrick Wisdom followed with a walk, and then Matt Mervis doubled both runners in [VIDEO].
4-0, your pitcher doing well and guys hitting the ball all over the yard. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, plenty, or I wouldn’t be writing this sarcastic recap.
Shohei Ohtani homered in the fourth to make it 4-1. No shame in that, Ohtani is a legitimately great player and has homered off lots of pitchers.
But then there was the Angels’ five-run fifth, in which the Cubs did pretty much everything wrong. There was an error by Mervis on the routiniest of routine ground balls. A wild pitch scored a run. A couple of walks made things worse. Here’s the summary of the inning:
Angels send 10 batters to the plate in a 5-run fifth inning, helped by the Cubs pitching (run-scoring wild pitch, HBP, two walks, three hits) and defense (fielding error by Mervis).— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 7, 2023
Two of the runs were unearned due to Mervis’ error and two of them scored after Wesneski left the game for Brandon Hughes, so his pitching line looked worse than he actually pitched.
By the time it was over the Angels had a 6-4 lead and you might as well have turned the game off (maybe you did!) because the chances of the Cubs scoring again... well, they did load the bases with one out in the seventh, but then this happened [VIDEO].
When things are going bad, they really go bad. Right?
Jeremiah Estrada served up a homer to Taylor Ward in the bottom of the seventh to make it 7-4, then he loaded the bases on walks. Credit where it’s due, Michael Fulmer got out of the jam with a strikeout and this double play [VIDEO].
Perhaps that gave you brief hope. Dear reader, the Cubs did not come close to scoring again, though they did have two singles in the ninth before Seiya Suzuki struck out to end the game [VIDEO].
The Cubs dropped into fourth place in the N.L. Central with the loss, now 6½ games out of first place, and eight games under .500 for the first time this year. That is not an insurmountable deficit, yet I know that the calls of “Sell off!” are going to get louder now, even with more than seven weeks remaining before the trade deadline. For those of you who think that should or will happen, I ask you this: How many rebuilds is this fanbase going to stand for? Of course, the current rebuild is one that Jed Hoyer refused to actually call a rebuild, but that’s what it is. Want to start over again? The Cubs have invested a fair amount of money into at least trying to compete. Right now it’s not happening. But to tear down and start again? I can’t see this front office or fanbase standing for that.
Sigh. You disgusted yet? I still am. If it’s any consolation, the Cardinals lost their fifth in a row and seventh of eight Tuesday and are 12 games under .500.
The Cubs will try it again Wednesday evening in Anaheim. Jameson Taillon will start for the Cubs, hoping to build on his good outing in San Diego, and Jaime Barria will go for the Angels. Game time is again 8:38 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and MLB Network outside the Cubs and Angels market territories).