At least the Cubs are making the last month interesting. Kind of:
CHICAGO — Jason Berken didn’t get a win, but he got in the Cubs record books.
Didi Gregorius, pinch-hitter Joey Votto and Xavier Paul hit consecutive RBI singles in the seventh to help Johnny Cueto pick up his 18th win as the Reds beat the Cubs, 5-3, on Thursday to reduce their magic number to clinch the National League Central Division to two.
The Reds were without manager Dusty Baker, hospitalized because of an irregular heartbeat. They relied on Cueto (18-9), who ranks among the NL leaders in wins, ERA (2.84), and innings pitched. He scattered five hits over six scoreless innings, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Berken made a little history in the second, when he struck out four — Ryan Hanigan reached on a wild pitch to prolong the inning — and is the fifth pitcher in franchise history to fan four batters in one inning. The list includes Jim Davis (May 27, 1956), Bill Bonham (July 31, 1974), Kerry Wood (Sept. 2, 2002) and Ryan Dempster (Oct. 4, 2009). That also ties a National League and Major League mark, shared by many.
“I didn’t realize it until I sat down in the dugout,” Berken said. “That’s cool, I guess. By no means am I going for strikeouts.”
And therein lay the problem. “By no means am I going for strikeouts.”
Okay, I get it. He’s not trying to strike everyone out. He’s trying to get outs. At the same time, he should be trying to throw strikes . . and three strikes = a strikeout. So shouldn’t EVERYONE be going for strikeouts all the time? I mean, in an existential sense. In life, are you going for slow grounders to short? Or strikeouts? The Yankees are going for strikeouts. Apple goes for strikeouts. Johnny Cash went for strikeouts. The Cubs aren’t going for strikeouts. Dammit, I hate this team.
And here’s the second quote of the day that sent me into a blackout rage:
CHICAGO — The Cubs have used 12 different starting pitchers this season, tied for third-most in the National League, and set a club record by using 53 different players.
There’s been a lot of on-the-job training, especially for the pitchers.
“Do we miss our core guys? Of course we do,” Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio said Thursday of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, who were traded, and Matt Garza, who has been sidelined with an injury since July 28. “I think, for the most part, the guys who we’ve filled in have improved. We’ll never be satisfied with anything. These guys are getting a crash course in how to be Major League players.”
Bosio has seen encouraging signs from young relievers such as Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis and Jaye Chapman. Plus, they’ve had to work with young catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.
“It seems like everything we’re doing as an organization, it’s a great learning experience,” Bosio said, “but at the same time we want to be competitive and fight and win. The best way to develop is teach them how to win. Hands full? Yes. Eager guys? Yes. Learning on the job? Yes.”
By all means, let’s celebrate the fact that we’ve had to watch a starting rotation that features Chris Volstad and Travis Wood battling it out to be the ace. I guess that makes Justin Germano and his 5.58 ERA our number 3, followed by Brooks Raley and a parade of arms we’ve never heard of (and frankly, I’m not even convinced half these guys are in the Cubs organization. They may be from Iowa, but how do we know they aren’t from the local American Legion league? We don’t.). Let’s celebrate it and talk about how encouraging it all is, because GOD KNOW IT’S BEEN FUN TO WATCH FOR THE FANS.
I love seeing a new pitching I’ve never heard of out there every game. Don’t you? Especially when I also have to watch the Reds, the Cardinals, and the Brewers (the BREWERS, for crying out loud) working their way into the playoffs AGAIN. But by all means, let’s all be encouraged by all the experience the young, craptacular, no-name pitchers are getting. ISN’T IS FUN TO WATCH PEOPLE GET EXPERIENCE? OF COURSE IT IS.
And then there’s this hilarious headline:
“SVEUM LOOKS FORWARD TO REFLECTING ON SEASON”
Of course he does. I know I, personally, can’t wait to sit around this off-season and think back on every,single, freakin’ moment of this incredible season.
Oh, and Cardinals and Chris Carpenter come to town today. JOY. Can’t wait.
GAME THREAD PART THINGY:
Chris Carpenter v. Chris Volstad
1:20 pm CT, Comcast Sports
Let’s hope we send him back to the DL.