Reds 3 @ Cubs 1
“These guys are trying to stay away from 100 losses, and that’s their goal. The Cincinnati Reds, mathematically, they have it locked up. … These guys are just trying to stay away from 100 losses, and there’s a lot of pride in that.” – Dale Sveum
Well, at least they have a goal. That said, the Cubs looked a lot more like a 100-loss team that sat through a 3 ½-hour rain delay one night earlier and decided to hit the snooze button for a few extra hours on Tuesday than one whose collective heart was set on avoiding the century mark.
The Cubs’ bats disappeared after Monday night’s rain delay and it appears they didn’t turn up in time for Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds. In fact, only Darwin Barney seems to have been able to keep track of his lumber. After notching two singles on Tuesday, the Cubs’ second baseman has out hit his teammates 4-2 in the last two days. Singles by Steve Cleavenger and Bryan LaHair were the only other base knocks by Chicago against Dusty Baker’s soon to be crowned NL Central champions.
Justin Germano pitched the first five innings like a man that didn’t wait up to see if his teammates had won the night before, allowing just three hits and shutting the Reds out through five. Out of sympathy for his sleep deprived teammates, he decided to fall asleep on the mound to start the sixth inning and walk the first three Reds batters – right as Len Kasper finished praising the Cubs recent starting pitching quality- earning him a quick hook from Sveum. A two-out bases clearing double by Ryan Hanigan was all the Reds would need, and indeed all they would get the remainder of the way.
The Cubs tried to mount a one-out rally in the eighth, as Barney singled and was doubled in by a pinch-hitting LaHair. That was all the pride they could muster though and went away quietly in the ninth.
Cubs 100-loss Magic Number: 5. Just five more wins to accomplishing their goals. Good luck guys, we’re pulling for you.