After draining loss in 15th, Cubs have Dodgers to fret
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 25, 2013 10:03PM
Updated: September 27, 2013 6:34AM
SAN DIEGO — As if the Cubs hadn’t already been taxed enough emotionally and physically in a 15-inning loss Sunday to the San Diego Padres, their reward was a long bus ride north and a date with a team in one of the hottest stretches in major-league history.
The Los Angeles Dodgers already swept the Cubs in four games at Wrigley Field this month, and they will send Cy Young winners Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw to the mound on Monday and Tuesday.
‘‘Why’d you have to bring that up?’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘Let’s talk about something else. I don’t want to deal with that until I have to.’’
And that was before the Cubs blew a two-run lead in the 13th inning on a two-out triple and a wild pitch, then lost 3-2 on a two-out, bases-loaded single by Nick Hundley in the 15th. The game took 5 hours, 13 minutes, used 20 players on the roster, featured 13 men left on base and sent the Cubs to their fifth loss in their last six games.
Sveum emptied his bullpen and already had decided outfielder Brian Bogusevic, a former minor-league pitcher, would be his next man to the mound if the game went long enough.
Now all he has to do is figure out what he’s going to do against two of the best pitchers in baseball the next two nights against a team playing .793 ball since June 22.
‘‘That’s not something I want to think about until we’re arriving at Dodger Stadium,’’ he said.
The strange and scary moment Sunday came in the Cubs’ two-run 13th, when batter Nate Schierholtz was hit near his face by a throw toward the plate from Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman. The ball chipped the bill of Schierholtz’s helmet, glanced off the side of his shoulder and caromed toward the infield as the first run of the game scored.
‘‘I got lucky, I guess,’’ said Schierholtz, who tweaked his lower back coming out of the box, causing him to stumble before he was hit by the throw. ‘‘It was just a nightmare of a play, I guess you could say.’’
‘‘Never seen that one before,’’ Sveum said.
Schierholtz left the game because of the back but had improved enough an hour or so after the game that his status for Monday was considered a game-day decision.
Catcher Welington Castillo caught all 15 innings after missing three games because of sore ribs that had bothered him for more than a week.
† One day after saying he hoped to ‘‘shove it up their [butt],’’ Padres starter Andrew Cashner, whom the Cubs traded two winters ago for Anthony Rizzo, backed up his words with seven dominant innings.
‘‘That’s about as good of stuff as you’re going to see — 98 mph, plus a 93-94 [mph] ball that was moving all over the place,’’ Sveum said.
† Left-hander Chris Rusin nearly matched Cashner and has a 1.50 ERA in his last four starts, along with a 191/3-inning scoreless streak on the road.