There’s a moment in Mystery Science Theater 3000 during the execrable Manos: the Hands of Fate where a good ten to fifteen seconds passes by without a single character moving or speaking until an exasperated Joel Hodgson finally breaks the silence by crying “DO SOMETHING!”
Stretch that out to five days, and you’ve just written a game summary for this entire road trip.
Tonight, the CSN cameras showed a helicopter hovering over Petco Park during the first few innings. Which is appropriate since they usually dispatch one of those to cover a tire fire.
What You Need to Know: Hunter Renfroe. Austin Hedges. Greg Davidson. Allen Cordoba. The Cubs were beaten by a team that sounds like a video game that couldn’t afford to pay for MLB licensing rights.
In fact, the Padres are so anonymous, you didn’t even notice that one of those names I just mentioned is completely made up. And no, I’m not going to tell you which.
The Cubs made a little noise tonight, taking an early lead with Willson Contreras hitting a lucky bad hop double to drive in Jason Heyward in the second and Kyle Schwarber later tying the game with a booming home run in the fifth. Unfortunately, in each instance, Eddie Butler was not up to holding the Padres at bay, immediately giving up the lead in the bottom half of both innings.
Next Level: Jon Jay was fun for a while, hitting .385/.478/.487 in April, supported by a .517 BABIP that was as sustainable as Eddie Murphy’s music career. And it led to some fun “Chief Justice” references from Jim Deshaies. Which means that you’ve officially seen more accurate historical references on Cubs TV this season than on all of the 24-hour news networks combined.
Since then, Jay has hit .217/.302/.283 in May. Tonight, Joe Maddon inserted him in the lineup behind Anthony Rizzo hoping it would lead to more contact. Jay proceeded to strike out in his first three at-bats before a meaningless single in the eighth inning.
As both Maddon and Theo Epstein have promised, the Cubs lineup is going to be saved by internal improvements. But playing Jay more is probably not going to be one of them.
Top Play (WPA): With the Cubs down 2-1 in the fifth, Dinelson Lamet (which is a real name and not words I just copied from the Presidential Twitter) struck out Butler and Ben Zobrist in rapid succession. Schwarber quickly fell down 0-2. And just as we were all saying “Sit him down, Joe,” Schwarber crunched a fastball in the zone for a game-tying 404 foot home run to right field (+.152).
After circling the bases, a smiling and relieved Schwarber returned to the dugout, put his head on John Mallee’s shoulder, and was embraced by the first player you picture when you think of Mr. Warm and Cuddly: John Lackey.
Even after a very painful first couple months, if you’re not rooting for Kyle Schwarber, there’s something wrong with you.
Bottom Play (WPA): With the Cubs leading 1-0 in the second, Franchy “Suck It, Spellcheck” Cordero led off with a single. After a Cory Spangenberg strikeout, Hedges drilled a two-run homer just under the National University sign in left center–the only thing more damaging than actually paying them for an education (-.207).
Up Next: This road trip. Ye gods.
It mercifully ends with a matinee tomorrow as Jake Arrieta takes the mound against Luis Perdomo. Remember when news like that used to make you feel good?
The Cubs embarked on this trip in costume as a tribute to Anchorman. They ought to fly home dressed as A Night at the Roxbury.
Lead photo courtesy Jake Roth—USA Today Sports