You know, over the course of a season every team has a seven to 10-day period we'd all like to forget about—usually at least two. Consider the Cubs.
2008? Lost six straight, August 30-September 5.
2007? Lost six straight, May 27-June 2.
And those were division winners, no less.
You and I know this isn't a very good team, especially sans Aramis Ramirez. So, I see these losses and wonder if this just isn't reversion to the mean, as a .500 record as constructed sounds about right.
But if you're a Cub, you need to come home, sleep in, take a breath, and forget that the last week ever happened. It's really all you can do.
Even if that's easier said than done after Sunday's game, a perfectly winnable matchup, with the Padres sending Chris Young to the mound. No one has ever confused him for Cy Young, but he looked it, one-hitting the Cubs through five.
Fortunately, Ted Lilly was equally as effective early, giving some hope that this game would be the streak-buster. But two things happened that shouldn't have.
First, Lilly misplayed a David Eckstein suicide squeeze in the fifth, turning what looked to be an out at the plate into a ball sailing over Geovany Soto's head. The run would score, after which Lilly would induce a Scott Hariston double play to end the inning.
Then in the seventh, Cubs manager Lou Piniella choose to stick with Lilly, who promptly gave up a double to pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez.
Lilly would give way to Aaron Heilman—you can see where this is going—who, after intentionally walking Adrian Gonzalez, served up a three-run homer to Kevin Kouzmanoff to put this thing away for good.
Now, Lilly's pitch count was good entering the seventh, but it was clear he was losing presence on the mound in the sixth, and more importantly, the Padres were hitting him well, suggesting he was losing something on his pitches.
Might you have gone to Jose Ascanio to start the seventh, who'd had a real nice performance in his last outing? Or sent Heilman in to start the inning?
My point is this bullpen stinks, and they're not the sort of crew I send into a firefight. Maybe you send those guys in with no one on, and get a different result, especially when they would have faced the pinch-hitter, David Eckstein, and Scott Hairston—not the most fearsome trio in baseball, by any means.
But a high-stress situation? You're just asking to lose.
But as I said, forget about it. The Cubs have a nice set against the Pirates starting Monday, they're still at .500, and they're miraculously sitting only four games out after this awful stint.
Just go play some good baseball.