In an unprecedented move, the Cubs have petitioned MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to be able to forfeit all of their series openers for the rest of the 2010 MLB schedule. The infallible Elias Sports Bureau (confirmed by our crack staff of researchers all things bizarre) has confirmed that no other major league baseball team in the modern baseball era has made such a petition before.
The reason behind the request is simple. The Cubs have not won an opening game of a series since they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 back on May 25th. Since then, the Cubs have lost the series opener of 8 straight series and it looks like they are doing their best to make that 9 in a row (they trail the White Sox 6-0 in the 7th inning of today’s Crosstown Classic on the south side). During that stretch, the Cubs have gone just 9-14 and they have fallen out of contention in both the NL Central race (they trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 8 games) and the NL Wild Card race (they trail the New York Mets by 9 games). GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella figure that since the Cubs can’t win the opening game of any series anyway, they may as well forfeit the game to give their players some extra rest during the dog days of summer. Then they can focus their attention on winning the final 2 games of 3-game series in an effort to actually win more games during the final 3 months of the season. They’ll be able to watch more tape of opposing pitchers and hitters, and they’ll have more time to work with the coaching staff on hitting, pitching and fielding. Pinella has also hinted that the Cubs will play a lot more simulated games on the “forfeit” days in an attempt to keep the players “fresh”.
I must say that this is an interesting move for the north siders. All the tweaking of batting orders and bullpen moves hasn’t really paid off, so this may be the next best thing. I really hope Selig gives the Cubs a fair shot at being able to forfeit these games. It could go a long for this struggling Cubs squad – wouldn’t it be great if this is all it takes for the Cubs to get back on track. It could set a new trend for teams all across the country.
Oh yeah – by the way – the Cubs hung tough against the Mariners in the series finale on Thursday afternoon in Seattle. Ted Lilly (6 INN, 1 ER on 5 hits and no walks, with 6 K’s) got another tough luck no decision as the Cubs didn’t give him any support at all. The Cubs managed just 6 hits against Felix Hernandez and 4 Mariners’ relievers. Derrek Lee had 2 of the hits but is still just hitting .233 for the season. Mike Fontenot didn’t have a hit but he drove in the Cubs first run with a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning. Chad Tracy drove in the Cubs 2nd run with an RBI single in the 7th inning that gave the Cubs a short-lived 2-1 lead. Marlon Byrd drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 13th inning with his only hit of the game.
On a “down” note, Andrew Cashner gave up his 1st run in 8 major league starts, blowing the 2-1 lead in the process. It was also his 1st major league blown save.
As for today’s game, we’ll have more on this later, but Carlos Zambrano served up 4 easy runs for the White Sox in the 1st inning (RBI double by Alex Rios and 3-run HR by Carlos Quentin) and then promptly started yelling at Derrek Lee in the dugout after the end of the inning. It’s not exactly clear what Big Z was pissed off about, but he clearly still has a lot of anger issues to deal with. Add Big Z’s name to the list of Cubs that will be traded before the July 31 trading deadline. The only problem with moving Zambrano is working out how much of the $18+ million owed to him over each of the next 2 years the Cubs will have to eat in order to get some team to take him. Good job Jim!!!