Cubs’ confines don’t figure to be friendly as skid reaches 12
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 27, 2012 10:22PM
Cubs starter Matt Garza gave up three home runs in five innings. “It’s going to turn,” he said of the Cubs’ woes. “It’s gotta turn.” | Gene J. Puskar~AP
A winless homestand and a winless road trip have left the Cubs two games shy of tying the franchise’s longest losing streak.
14 – 1997 (April 1-20)
13 – 1987 (June 12-25)
13 – 1982 (May 30-June 13)
13 – 1944 (April 19-May 10)
12 – 2012 (May 15-current)
12 – 1981 (April 12-26)
12 – 1970 (June 21-30)
Breaking down the losing streak
Runs 33 (2.8 per game)
Opponents’ runs 69 (5.8)
Home runs 11 (0.9)
Opponents’ HRs 19 (1.6)
Batting avg. .236 (94-for-399)
BA w/RISP .189 (17-for-90)
Walk-off losses 2
Team ERA 5.63
Quality starts 4
Starters 0-9, 5.56 ERA
Bullpen 0-3, 1 BS, 5.75 ERA
PADRES AT CUBS
The facts: 1:20, Ch. 9, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Jeff Suppan (2-3, 4.21 ERA) vs. Travis Wood (0-1, 3.86).
the rest Of the series
Tuesday: 1:20 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Eric Stults (1-0, 1.54) vs. Jeff Samardzija (4-3, 3.00).
Wednesday: 1:20 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Anthony Bass (2-5, 3.55) vs. Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.14).
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:46AM
PITTSBURGH — Playing some of their worst baseball in decades, the Cubs return to Wrigley Field to face a hair-trigger home crowd that hasn’t seen them win a game in person since Facebook and the Ricketts family were considered good investments.
One advantage for this beleaguered bunch: It only has to dodge, duck and dive for three days before making a 2,000-mile getaway to the West Coast.
Then again, it’s possible few even will notice they’re back in town for a series against the San Diego Padres, considering the usual interest in games between last-place teams that score about as often as “Beavis and Butthead.”
‘‘We’ve just got to play,’’ said Matt Garza, who struggled for the second consecutive start Sunday as the Cubs’ skid reached 12 games with a 10-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
‘‘Yeah, we have great fans. They know the game. But we can’t play for the fans right now. We have to play for every guy in here. That’s where we are right now. It’s going to test our character as a club.’’
Maybe. But character isn’t going to sell tickets, especially with the woeful Padres in town and better things to barbecue Monday than a wallet-load of cash at Wrigley.
The Cubs haven’t won since May 14, and they’re only two shy of the franchise’s longest losing streak, in 1997. They haven’t won at home since May 9, when the Bulls were still playing.
While this season means more to the front office for what it can get in the draft next year and what it can learn about its personnel this year, four months remain for the business side of the operation to sweat lost ticket sales and lost interest heading into the winter renewal season.
‘‘Patience is something that a lot of fans don’t have, no matter what you go through,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘I think we all understand. I mean, I’m a huge football fan [from Northern California], and I don’t understand how the Oakland Raiders lose about every game.
‘‘That’s just kind of the way it is with passionate fans. They want to win, just like we want to win. That’s just part of every stadium, especially in a city that’s passionate, like Chicago Cubs fans are.’’
One can hope for passionate. Disinterested figures to be a more apt description unless the next Joey Votto suddenly shows up (and, no, Anthony Rizzo still isn’t coming for at least another four weeks).
‘‘It’s going to turn,’’ Garza said. ‘‘It’s gotta turn.’’
Meanwhile, in his last two starts, Garza hasn’t made a case for that front-line-starter contract he and the club have discussed.
Unlike in his three-inning start Monday in Houston, he had command of his fastball and slider. But Sveum said changeups in fastball situations led to two home runs.
‘‘Not exactly protocol or what the game plan was,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I’ll have to talk to him again.’’
‘‘It’s frustrating,’’ Garza said. ‘‘The past couple have been frustrating. But I’ve got to keep going, keep grinding. Nothing else I can do. I’ve got to get right and get right quick and get ready for [the San Francisco Giants] in five days.’’