In the event that you were either unable or unwilling to watch the Cubs game Friday night, consider yourself lucky. Whether you saw it real-time or not, I’ve put together a super-condensed version to set the stage.
If it’s all the same to you, we’ll go ahead and dispense with the gory details. Suffice to say the Cubs were shut out by Joe Freaking Musgrove, another in the long line of mediocre soft-tossing pitchers who’ve combined for a Cy Young campaign. Their only runs came on a huge triple from *checks notes* Tony Kemp, but two tallies weren’t enough.
Salt left a bitter taste as Brandon Kintzler was unable to hold a tenuous lead in his first action back off the IL, leading to the Cubs’ second straight walk-off loss. It was the first time they’d suffered such consecutive defeats since all the way back on May 5 and 6 of last season. So, hey, more than a year between.
But according to Elias, it was the first time the Cubs had lost in such spectacularly disappointing fashion in nearly 60 years. By regurgitating back-to-back nine-inning games, both of which they’d led in the final frame, the Cubs “accomplished” something not seen since July 25 and 26 of 1960. The Phillies phactored in that, too.
The Cubs have lost consecutive nine-inning games despite leading in the final inning in both for the first time since July 25-26, 1960 against the Reds and Phillies at Wrigley Field.@EliasSports
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 17, 2019
With full understanding that baseball is weird and that anything can happen in any given game, the Cubs haven’t exactly established good reason to dismiss this as a fluke. I mean, yeah, the specific circumstances are weird. But when their play on the road has been poor all season and their margin for error is thinner than a bad Stephen King movie adaptation, they leave themselves in position for this to happen. After this latest round of failure, however, they’ve run out of explanations.
“I don’t remember it ever in my whole baseball playing career,” a stunned Kris Bryant admitted. “I don’t know how to respond to it. It’s all new to me. It’s new to most of us. Cliché, you gotta keep going. I don’t know what else to say, I really don’t. We just gotta keep playing.”
And that play has got to get a helluva lot better pretty damn soon if the Cubs want to have any shot at the postseason.
“[W]e can’t keep having this conversation over and over,” Hoyer said before the game. “We keep on playing well at home, having that conversation. Then we go on the road, give up whatever lead we have, and get knocked back down. If we continue that cycle, we’re going to end up disappointed. So, we have to stop that. We have to figure this out.”
Not much to say beyond that, is there? I’d almost prefer to tap into some anger, but it’s really all gone at this point. Which is bad because it means I’ve resigned myself to whatever happens. So have the Cubs, from the sound of it.
“The group is not intimidated,” Joe Maddon said. “Patterns are the same. It’s not inappropriate patterns. It’s just awkward.”