I may vomit.
The Cubs should have picked tonight to present Brian Matusz with his World Series ring. Because this game certainly felt like he was on the mound again.
Last year, as several of you will recall, the Cubs started Matusz in a late July contest with the Mariners. And after he gave up six runs in three innings, Theo Epstein was preparing to apologize to his roster for giving away a game until the Cubs pulled off a miraculous late rally.
After tonight, I assume Epstein is prepared to apologize to Matusz for putting Brett Anderson on the roster instead of him.
What You Need to Know: Before the game, the Cubs added Rob Zastryzny and DFA’d Matt Szczur.
Is it a bad sign when the player you just released plays only 1/3 of an inning less than your starting pitcher?
Szczur, of course, is justifiably famous for his altruistic bone marrow donation to help save a young girl’s life. Anderson, meanwhile, apparently accepted a left arm donation from Danny Jackson.
Tonight, it was as if Anderson heard Joe Maddon’s assertion that the Cubs’ first inning ERA had nowhere to go but down and thought, “Challenge accepted!” After a Brett Gardner double and a misplay on Aaron Hicks’s bunt, the Cubs were losing 1-0 after four pitches. And it only got worse from there.
Smashes down both baselines. Mashed line drives to the outfield wall. Anderson gave up five runs in that third of an inning before Chris Bosio visited him on the mound and pointed to his back. Because if he pointed to the body part that most accurately resembled this outing, the FCC would take Baseball Night in America off the air permanently.
Next Level: We all know the biggest problem with the Cubs right now. It’s to the point where we can all say “Starters aren’t giving them enough innings” in unison like it’s a newly discovered verse in the extended remix of “Go Cubs Go.”
But how bad has it gotten? Let’s take a look at Bruce Miles’s Twitter:
“In Cubs first 30 games, non-quality starts outnumber quality starts 20-10. Last year it was 21 QS to 9 non-quality after 30 games”
Sweet Lucifer. That stat is so bad, Kevin James just optioned it into a screenplay.
It’s probably not possible to determine if the rotation’s problems are a hangover from two consecutive deep Octobers, a by-product of bringing the pitchers along slowly in the spring, the inevitable regression of the aging process, or the end result of everyone in Chicago simultaneously wishing on a Monkey’s Paw during Game 7.
But this needs to stop. The Cubs still have time to figure this out. And the sooner, the better because after one more with the Yankees, they have three games in Coors Field. Gulp.
Top Play (WPA): With runners on first and second and the Yankees threatening to brutalize the Cubs bullpen in the ninth inning yet again, Miguel Montero reached back for his greatest weapon: the 81 MPH fastball and/or change-up to coax Rob Refsnyder to harmlessly fly to center. (+.001) Miggy was upset with his lack of playing time in last year’s postseason. So if he can’t grab some from Willson Contreras this year, it looks like he’s going to take it from Wade Davis instead.
There were probably better WPA plays for the Cubs tonight, but let’s be honest…I don’t care and neither do you.
Bottom Play (WPA): As if taking out the pent up frustration of having to endure a lifetime’s worth of Harvey Korman impressions, Chase Headley capped the first by lining a two-run double to right field to make the score 5-0 (-.110).
Random Cheap Shot While Being Forced to Sit Through a Blowout: Spike Lee was in the stands tonight trying to impress us hayseed midwesterners by wearing a cap with all the Yankee world championship years surrounding the interlocking NY.
All those world titles can’t cover up the fact that he hasn’t had to buy a new hat since 2009. That is adorable.
His cap also had the number 27 on it. And I wasn’t sure why he’d buy a hat to commemorate how many dollars Chi-Raq made at the box office.
Up Next: The Cubs have one more chance to play a game in this series that’s more watchable than a colonoscopy. It’s the 7:08 Game of the Week tomorrow night with Jon Lester facing Luis Severino.
Lead photo courtesy Dennis Wierzbicki—USA Today Sports