Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka once told the press that his team might never win another game. Well, guess what? He was right. They lost all of their remaining games and Da Coach was fired following the season.
Now, I'm not saying the Cubs will never win another game. It's too long of a season, of course. But after watching eight consecutive losses, I'm at a loss for what it might take to win again.
Perhaps a complete game shutout?
Anyway, tonight the bats finally came alive, but the pitching wasn't up to the task in a 10-8 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ryan Dempster was terrible, giving up six runs in just four innings. As has been the case quite a bit since his horrible playoff start last year, Dempster's command was the primary issue.
He issued three walks and hit a batter, throwing almost 100 pitches in his short stint. I realize hindsight is 20/20, but you simply don't give a long-term, big money contract to a pitcher with a career 4.50-plus ERA based on one good season.
Jose Ascanio gave up three hits, but got out of it unscathed in his one inning of work. He was one of two Cubs pitchers not to give up a run.
Why does Neal Cotts continue to be on this team? Oh yes, I forgot, you simply must have a lefty in your bullpen.
Um, no, not if his name is Cotts. His line: 4R, 3H in 1IP. He has a 7.36 ERA on the season.
Hey, Mr. T throws with his left hand. He can't be any worse than Cotts, can he?
Aaron Heilman continued his lousy performance this season by giving up a run in his inning of work. His ERA is 5.49 this year.
Surprise, there was another David Patton sighting today. The seldom-used reliever, who in all fairness should probably be pitching in Class A ball, was surprisingly effective tonight. Patton pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for the Cubs.
By the way, Carlos Zambrano appeared as a pinch hitter, striking out in the seventh inning while Len and Bob were talking with Mr. T. So much for Lou's promise that we won't see Big Z doing that for awhile after he hurt himself running to first base.
Offensively, Ryan Theriot hit three doubles while Milton Bradley had a homer and a double.
I guess home plate umpire Bob Davidson wasn't out to get him tonight.
But Soriano was once again nowhere to be found. He watched his batting average dip to .253, with a .318 OBP. And, the Great Micah Hoffpauir, who many Cubs fans seem to be anointing as the next Mr. Cub, is slumping too. His average is down to .271.
Look, I like The Hoff, he can hit, but there's a reason he was in the minors so long. He's like the Bears backup QB, who always looks good until he gets regular playing time.
Hoffpauir struck out in the ninth with a man on and a chance to tie the game with one swing.
The defense wasn't impressive either. Dempster was the only one charged with an error for the Cubs, but Aaron Miles dropped a pop-up that should have been caught in the fourth inning.
So the Cubs have dropped below the .500 mark now, at 21-22. Is it time for panic? Nah. But it's time for concern.
The good thing to take away from this game is that we started hitting the ball, so perhaps we'll get out of this slump.
Speaking of Mr. T, I pity the fool who has to suffer through these games lately. One of those fools is me, come to think of it.