Cubs shut out for second straight night, 16th time overall
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org October 2, 2012 10:05PM
Cub manager Dale Sveum argues a safe call with first base umpire John Tumpane when Astro baserunner Tyler Greene was ruled safe in a rundown in the second inning of the Chicago Cubs-Houston Astros game Tuesday October 2, 2012 in the final night game of the season at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 4, 2012 6:24AM
The Cubs only had two seasons of more than 100 losses before this year.
But after a second straight shutout defeat Tuesday at the hands of the Houston Astros, the Cubs’ loss total reached 101, two short of the team record of 103 in 1962 and 1966.
The 3-0 score was identical to Monday’s defeat and marked the 16th time the team has been shut out this season.
‘‘It looked like deja vu from last night,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘It kind of typified the whole season.’’
No one among the Cubs’ hierarchy of Sveum, team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer or scouting chief Jason McLeod has gone through a season like this.
‘‘Not many people around here have been through this many losses in a season,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘It’s a very stark baseline of where we are and how much improvement we have to make.
‘‘I think we’ll have to wait until we’re done playing after Wednesday before we really look back and reflect. But no, we’d prefer about 65 losses. No one wants to have this type of season.’’
Jeff Samardzija, who will be a key rotation piece next season, doesn’t judge the 2012 season by the triple-digit losses.
‘‘For me, it’s not about the numbers. It’s if you were in the pennant race,’’ he said. ‘‘If you weren’t, you have to go back to the drawing board.
‘‘We had a new team the last few months. There are things you’re dealing with and then there were the roster moves [at the trade deadline]. We weren’t the same team the last few months, and the fact is, the truth is the truth.’’
It was during their 12-game losing streak in May that talk of a 100-loss pace began. It subsided in July, when the team went 15-10, but after the July 31 trade deadline, when half the rotation was dealt, the Cubs lost 41 of their next 57 games.
‘‘July was our best stretch,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘We had a whole pitching staff and had called up Anthony Rizzo [on June 26], and we started scoring more runs.’’
Epstein said the season isn’t a reflection of his first-year manager.
‘‘One hundred losses aren’t his fault in the least,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘Dale’s done a fantastic job of maintaining as much of a winning culture as possible during a season like this.’’
Veteran Alfonso Soriano has been on New York Yankees teams that won more than 100 games — but never on a 100-loss team.
‘‘I hope the young players learn it’s fun when we’re winning, and you learn it’s not fun when you’re losing,’’ Soriano said. ‘‘It’s more tiring when you lose. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it’s not fun when you’re losing.
‘‘I think about how difficult it is to win 100 games, but it’s tough to lose 100. It’s tough for the organization. I know in the second half we didn’t have a very good team to compete. But I hope we come back next year and play better. We have to learn from this and be ready for next year.’’
NOTE: Rookie Brett Jackson is in need of a major makeover this winter in his hitting approach.
‘‘There’s quite a bit I’d like to see him [change],’’ Dale Sveum said. ‘‘I’d like to see him completely revamp his swing. Players in this game have made drastic adjustments in their game, and it’s propelled some of them to Hall of Fame status.
‘‘I’ll go to my grave saying this: If you don’t make adjustments in this game, you won’t stay here very long.’’