WOW – I was shocked to see how high the number of 1-run losses has climbed in 2010 for the Cubs. After dropping the 8-7 finale to the Giants on Thursday’s get-away day (all 3 losses to the Giants in the series were by 1 run and this is your wild-card leader Cubs fans), the Cubs are now 13-29 in 1-run games. That means that 42 of the Cubs 115 games played (48-67 record) in 2010 have been decided by 1 run or less. That’s more than 1/3 of their games being decided by such a close margin. It is unbelievable. No other team has played as many 1-run games as the Cubs in 2010 and only 4 other teams in the entire major leagues have lost more than 20 1-run games in 2010 (Royals – 23; Mets – 22; Blue Jays – 22; & Mariners – 21). When you factor in losses in games decided by 2 runs or loss (which I have not had the time to do), I’m sure the numbers get even more mind-boggling. The Yankees (13-9) and Astros (10-12) have only played in 22 1-run games in all of 2010. That’s 20 games less than the Cubs. In the Yankees case, it means that they are crushing a lot of teams and in the Astros cases, it means that they were losing a ton of blowouts. But for a team to lose 29 games decided by 1-run or less, it takes a lot. It means you’re not sooooo awful that you are going to get blown out a lot, but it also means that you don’t have what it takes to win on a consistent basis in the major leagues. For the Cubs, it has largely been due to an inconsistent offense and having too many young players play and pitch throughout the entire regular season.
Randy Wells had another rough start after being staked to a 3-1 lead. Wells gave himself a 2-run lead with an RBI double in the top of the 4th inning, but being on base too long may have cost him. In the bottom of the frame, he served up solo home runs to Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval. Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, he served up a Grand Slam to Burrell. Just like that, a 3-1 Cubs lead turned into a 7-3 Cubs deficit.
You have to give this Cubs team a little credit, however. A Kosuke Fukudome double scored Starlin Castro in the 7th inning. Then in the 8th inning, the Cubs rallied to tie the game on
Castro finished the day with 4 hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored. He is now hitting .320 on the season, surpassing Marlon Byrd as the Cubs best hitter. Fukudome has started to look better as well (after his typical midsummer swoon) racking up 5 hits in his last 11 at-bats. His .262 batting average is pretty bad for a $12 million man, but you have to like his .370 on-base percentage (45 walks and 51 K’s in 252 at-bats).
The Cubs weren’t able to dash any of the hopes of the Giants for the playoffs push, but let’s hope the Cubs can do some damage to the Cards in St. Louis this weekend. The Cards hold a 1-game edge over the Reds in the NL Central race after their sweep in Cincinnati this week, so the Cubs can do some damage by winning the series. They get Jake Westbrook tonight, Chris Carpenter on Saturday and Jaime Garcia on Sunday. The key is tonight – if they can find a way to pick up a win in the 1st game of the series against the mediocre Westbrook, they could end up stealing the series from the Cards with Big Z and Ryan Dempster on the hill on Saturday and Sunday. Whatever happens, it should be an interesting series in St. Louis.