Extra Exta, Cubs reach new low in a season that will probably go down as one of the worst in Cubs history. Have there been worse Cubs teams? Yes, there have been worse Cubs teams, like the 1966 Cubs that went 59-103, but I have never seen such a bad team with such a high payroll. To achieve that record, the Cubs would have to lose every other game except five (although after this last series, it feels like it could happen). The Cubs were swept by the worst team in the National League, the Pittsburg Pirates. Not only did they lose, they lost with flair. I could here the commentator of the Hindenberg disaster saying "Oh, the Humanity." Now the Cubs are in a race; the race for the worst record in the NL. After being swept by the Pirates in Pittsburg for the first time since April, 1999, the Cubs are only two losses away from the worst record in the National League. Could you imagine the Cubs, with all 97 million dollars of their payroll, finishing last in a division with five teams? If there ever was a time to fire Dusty it is now. Apparently Jim Hendry was infuriated when asked about a report that Hendry was about to do an about face and fire Dusty before the season ended. Hendry reminded reporters that he said he would let Dusty finish the remainder of his four year contract. Hendry snapped "I said that a month ago, didn’t I?" But what Jim needs to explain is the logic behind not firing him. The Cubs have now lost six in a row, and lost eleven of their last thirteen games. With the rosters about to be expanded, why not fire the whole coaching staff, and let Triple A manager Mike Quade the interm manager. What does it matter anyway. Let him coach the kids that come up until a new coaching staff is assembled. He couldn’t do any worse of a job than Dusty. Finally, there is one guy who has had a worse time in Pittsburg than Dusty, Ryan Dempster. Let’s look at the last three humiliating losses.
Game 1- Pirates 11 Cubs 6
Angel Guzman really stunk up the joint. So far, the guy who was one considered the Cubs top prospect has gone 0-4 this season with a 7.20 ERA. Guzman went three innings, giving up ten hits and eight runs. Derek Lee finally returned to the line up to give the Cubs 2 RBI’s, but the Cubs pitching was just awful. After seeing Guzman’s mess, we then had to see Glendon "Fatty" Rusch warming up. There really is no worse feeling to see that tubby man warming up in the bullpen. Rusch gave up one run on five hits and two walks in only two innings of work. Will Ohman gave the Cubs two scoreless innnigs and even tried to make a game out of it, but Ryan Dempster gave two runs on four hits in the eighth. It would mark the beginning of an awful three day stetch for Dempster. When asked why Dempster was pitching in the eighth, Dusty responded, "That’s why he was in in the eighth," Baker said. "We’ve got to get him some work. It is tough on him, because we’re going to need him, and we need him to be sharp. Hopefully [Monday] will get him sharp for a needed save situation [Tuesday]." Little did he know.
Tuesday-Pirates 7 Cubs 6
The Zambrano meltdown. I saw this coming when he tried to break the bat over his knee in the series vs St Louis. Zambrano had two errors, one in the fifth and one in the sixth, blowing a four-run lead and allowing the Pirates back into the game. Zambrano was screaming, yelling, and stomping like a fool. The Cubs led at three different point in the game, but they had four errors and many more defensive miscues that eventually cost them the game. After Derek Lee gave the Cubs the lead with an RBI in the eleveth, Dusty called on his reliever to win the game. With runners on first and third and one out, Joe Randa hit a grounder to Ronny Cedeno, who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove for the second time in the inning.Cedeno made the relay to second in time, but Bynum missed the throw, allowing the tying run to score. Dempster’s intentional walk to Chris Duffy loaded the bases, and then Dempster walked Jose Bautista on five pitches, forcing home the winning run. Dempster suffered his second straight blown save and seventh in 31 chances.
Wenesday-Pirates 10 Cubs 9
With Cubs rookie Sean Marshall set to come back off the DL Saturday, the string of injuries continued with promising young pitcher Juan Mateo being hit in his pitching shoulder with a line drive in the third inning. Mateo wasn’t the same after getting hit in the shoulder, loading the bases before being pulled. David Aardsma came in and gave up a single to Freddie Sanchez. Les Walrond relieved Aardsma and gave up three runs on four hits in 1 and 2/3 of an inning. Down 7-3 the Cubs chipped away at the lead, picking up two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh, and one in the eighth, tying the game. In the eleventh, Michael Barrett hit an RBI single and Ronnie Cedeno had a sacrifice fly, giving the Cubs a 9-7 lead going into the eleventh, when again Dusty called on his closer. Xavier Nady singled leading off and Dempster bobbled a potential double-play comebacker before getting the out at first. Jose Castillo singled, pulling the Pirates within a run, before Humberto Cota singled to put two on. After a flyout, Dempster walked Jose Bautista on four pitches, loading the bases for Sanchez, the league’s leading hitter at .347. Sanchez was batting .410 with runners in scoring position. Sanchez hit what looked to be a ground out to first, but a controversial foul ball call gave Sanchez a second chance to come through. He hit a two run single, giving the Pirates the sweep. After the game Dempster said,
"It has been a tough go of it on this road trip. You just have to fight your way through it. We’re grown men. We’re not babies. We’re not little kids. Somehow, someway, we have to get through it."
The Cubs are now at 25 games under .500. What more do you need to evaluate, Jim?