California vacation over for Cubs’ offense, fall 5-0 to Lincecum’s Giants
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter May 28, 2014 6:14PM
Updated: May 28, 2014 11:14PM
SAN FRANCISCO — By the time the Cubs headed home from seven days in California, it was obvious the sun — or maybe something more psychedelic — was starting to toast their sense of reality.
An already surreal tone to the season reached new levels in a matter of days — from the baseball department’s mind-spinning decision to let enigmatic drug cheat Manny Ramirez mentor the farm system’s top prospects to the business department’s full-speed-ahead claims of city cooperation on a new and aggressive Wrigley renovation plan, only to get a not-so-fast rebuke from the mayor.
And that didn’t even count the 5-0 loss Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants that was rolling toward a rare combined no-hitter until catcher John Baker, who was hitting .128, broke it up in the seventh.
“I thought we put together some pretty good at-bats,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “We just didn’t generate any runs.”
Maybe the Cubs got out of the sun just in time. Or not soon enough.
Runs? The Cubs didn’t generate a hit for five innings against Tim Lincecum despite four walks, a hit batter and a blister on his middle finger that developed in the third inning and forced him to the bench after five.
Or against reliever George Kontos, who retired all four batters he faced. Or almost anybody else. Baker singled against Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh. Anthony Rizzo singled against Juan Gutierrez in the eighth.
That was all that kept the Cubs from being no-hit for the first time in nearly a half-century, when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against them in 1965 at Dodger Stadium.
As they head home for a day off before continuing their road trip Friday in Milwaukee, they’ve gone 20 innings without scoring a run.
By the time they’re done in Milwaukee against the first-place Brewers, Ramirez should be on the job as a player-coach with top prospect Javy Baez and the rest of the Class AAA Iowa Cubs.
How that works out, God only knows, which is pretty close to Ramirez’s own words on the subject.
“I realize that I behaved bad, and I apologize for that,” he told media in Boston on Wednesday as he took part in the Red Sox’ anniversary celebration of their 2004 championship, “but I’m a new man. That’s what Jesus said, and that’s what I believe.
“I behaved bad, and I regret it turned out the way it ended, but I know a lot of people say, ‘Manny didn’t like to play, blah, blah, blah.’ But what did my numbers say when I left here?”
Of the Cubs job, he said, “That’s a blessing from God because I could go over there and give those kids my testimony, what to do in the field and what not to do off the field, and it’s going to be a blast, and we’re going to go out and have fun out there.”
NOTES: Edwin Jackson (3-5) rebounded from his worst outing of the year to outlast Tim Lincecum and even outpitch him until two runners he left on base in the sixth scored against the bullpen and tagged him with the loss.
† The Cubs had no players listed among the top 15 outfielders or top five at any other position in early National League fan All-Star voting results released Wednesday. A mandatory single selection this year (Jeff Samardzija?) for the last-place Cubs would mark the fifth time in five seasons they get just the one All-Star.
† The Cubs have a major-league-worst 9-19 record on the road after the 3-4 swing through San Diego and San Francisco.