What Went Right
- The Cubs were good a few years ago? Seriously, there wasn’t much to write home about tonight.
- Geo Soto connected for his sixth homer (crickets chirping).
What Went Wrong
- Matt Garza was completely awful tonight. There really isn’t much more to say, but I’ll give it a shot. I was drinking an adult beverage with some friends right before the game started, and I found myself defending Garza to a room full of Garza detractors. A few minutes later, it was 4-0 Atlanta. The Buddy curse continues.
- Castro went 0-4, lowering his on-base percentage to .312.
- The Cubs walked twice tonight. Twice. How did they even score three runs?
OK, Matt Garza got his brains beat in tonight. Life goes on. If you really think about it, the last 15 years have seen some pretty impressive arms in Chicago. Of course we all cheered for the likes of Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano (early in his career anyway), Matt Clement, and Jon Lieber, but let’s go farther back and look at a few less-celebrated names:
- Frank Castillo—Castillo’s Cub career wasn’t that exciting, but he did mix in a solid season or two. In 1992 he tossed 205.1 innings and racked up an ERA of 3.46. Not bad for a 23-year-old pitcher in his second year. Things went downhill from there, but Castillo bounced back in 1995 with 188 innings and a 3.21 ERA.
- Mike Morgan—Signed by the Cubs in 1991, Morgan was a workhorse for two years. His first season in Chicago produced 236.1 innings and a 2.78 ERA. He followed that up with 240 innings and a 2.55 ERA. He came back to Earth in 1993 and 1994, and moved on to one of his many teams the following year. I had completely forgotten this fact, but Morgan pitched until he was 42, compiling 2,772.1 career innings.
- Mike Bielecki—After battling injuries and generally underachieving in Pittsburgh, the Cubs caught lightning in a bottle with Bielecki in 1989. The former first-rounder made 33 starts and helped lead the Cubs to a division title. Predictably, he never duplicated that success in Chicago again. A little trivia…Who did the Cubs trade to the Pirates for Bielecki? The one and only Mike Curtis.
- Jeff Pico—Just kidding. I couldn’t stand watching Jeff Pico.
While the pitching cupboard looks a little bare in 2012, I remain optimistic for next year and beyond. After all, you never know when lightning will strike again.