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At what point does a losing streak become the kind of carnage that you almost secretly hope they keep losing just so you can see how bad it could possibly get? I submit that 10 games isn’t quite it, but it’s probably something around 20.

I don’t think the Cubs will get there. It would be poetic to see Paul Maholm return to Pittsburgh and stop the streak, but here’s the thing: he can pitch as brilliantly as he wants, and the Cubs can still lose. It happened last night. They have to score runs.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (15-30) at Pittsburgh Pirates (21-24), 6:15pm CT on FOX.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.73 ERA, 1.8 HR/9)

versus

Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.50 ERA, 1.07 K/BB)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Jose Tabata, LF

2. Josh Harrison, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

5. Neil Walker, 2B

6. Matt Hague, 1B

7. Rod Barajas, C

8. Clint Barmes

9. Kevin Correia, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Joe Mather, CF

4. Bryan LaHair, 1B

5. Alfonso Soriano, LF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Blake Lalli, C

9. Paul Maholm, P

  • Randy

    So just wondering, what is the Cubs record with Marissa Miller vs any other girl? Just seems like we were right around .500 with her and can’t win a game without her.

  • Joe

    What is the fixation with Mather? I don’t get it. Sveum acts like he’s gonna be the saving grace for a team at the bottom of the barrel.

    • Joshua Edwards

      I think Sveum is at the bottom of the barrel looking for a saving grace.

      • Njriv

        What’s a Sveum?

      • Joe

        Was Sveum the right choice for this Cubs team? Based on what I’ve seen, no.

        • Fishin Phil

          Casey Friggin’ Stengal wouldn’t have made a difference.

          • Joe

            The “old professor” would have made a difference, but not sure how much. Point taken Phil.

        • Mrp

          Nice to see you are giving him a chance.

          • Joe

            He’s made bad decisions. Not saying his days are numbered or anything of the sort. But one can’t deny he has made some pretty “awful” decisions.

            • MikeL

              No he hasn’t…….

              But let us say that the Cubs hired the type of manager you thinks exists…..one that almost never makes mistakes. The cubs would MAYBE be 17-28 and cubs fans would still would be saying he was the wrong guy….you need the talent….a manager has a direct impact on very few games over the course of the season. You need the talent.

              • Joe

                I’m not saying Sveum needs to be perfect or above average. One thing I’d like to point out is this whole “righty” and “lefty” thing with batters. It has not worked and will not work in my opinion. Your better hitters will hit against either! Please chime in Doc with stats on this.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  heh, it’s not stats, but first principles.  The criticism of batting multiple righties or (especially) lefties in order is that, in the late innings of close games, the opposition can bring in the righty/lefty specialist to shut down 2+ batters in a row.  For fear of one sequence of ABs in some games, you ignore the possibility that you’ll be maximizing the run-scoring during the prior 2-3 sequences.

                  This is a variant of Voltaire’s Perfect is the Enemy of the Good: trying to “perfect” a lineup, you make it worse overall.

                  Incidentally, the identical argument has been raised against using guys like Chapman as setup men.  Out of fear for one inning in some games, the Reds frequently sacrifice 5-7 good innings every fifth game.  There is almost this weird mentality that baseball is like one of those game shows where the opening rounds do not matter and it’s the “Finale Round” in the last 3 innings that decides the game.  (72% of games this year are won by the team that holds the lead first, which is not too consistent with the “Jeopardy” model….)

                • MikeL

                  Joe…

                  What we are saying it does not matter how you managed this team or who managed this team…..what we are saying is that even if a manager might make the right decision every single time the cubs still might lose most of the time because they don’t have the talent to execute the things that need to be done to win.

                  • Joe

                    I agree MikeL! My point was we could be at.500 ball if not for bad decisions and the closing debacle. Kerry Wood knew himself he was not going to finish the season. He tried, but Theo should have known this was not going anywhere. Marmol is not old Marmol.

  • ry34

    yep you will see eleven and the cubs will score -1 runs tonight since they are garbage. at least automatic out hill is not in the lineup! thats one thing that will be positive tonight!

    • Joe

      Good move starting Lalli. Hill should not start any game. Let’s see what the kid can do. The season is a “wash” and the Cubs have no interest in winning games because it would not make sense.(more wins means lower draft pick)

      • John

        Lalli is 29 years old, and was hitting .179 in AAA. He is not a kid/prospect.

  • Cubs1967

    So since this is a new era for the Cubs with sabermetrics and all, how do we explain Stewart plays with a .286 OBP and zero WAR, dejesus plays with a .4 WAR, .368 OBP and NO steals YET campana who has the same WAR of .4, similiar OBP at .355 BUT does what a leadoff hitter should do which is steal bases with 13?

    Makes NO sense………if Mather must play; he plays at 3b, but of the 3 Campana deserves tp play; he’s the only one with a superior trait-he can steal bases……..

    So what’s really changed at clark and addision??

    • Cerambam

      Steals and bunts are anti-sabermetrics from what I understand. Outs are
      Sacred and bunts usually end that way and steals only marginally increase the %chance of scoring. Dejesus is a more complete overall player and has proven this over a longer period of time than campana

      • Joe

        I agree to a point. What one has to realize is Campana has more “game changing” attributes than DeJesus. Don’t know how that figures into the sabermetrics thing, but do know Campana would tend to draw more fans than a DeJesus.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        It is more the other way around: sabremetrics says that bunting with position players is a bad idea and that steals create far fewer runs than many people think.  Sabremetrics also breaks down the correlations between efficacy and situations: for example, sacrificing with a lousy hitter is not as detrimental as sacrificing with a good hitter, but starting a lousy hitter is detrimental to winning in the first place.  Similarly, stealing a base in front of a bad hitter does more to increase the chance of an “extra” run scoring than does steaing in front of a good hitter.  But, again: why is the bad hitter in your lineup?

        However, I really doubt that most fans come to watch a guy steal.  Yeah, it’s fun at the time: but it’s not the point of attending.  The correlation with attendance and performance is with slugging and performance: people like to watch sluggers.  Paradoxically, people also like to watch big name ACE pitchers.  (Strasburg, for example, sells tickets wherever he goes.)

        • Joe

          I would tend to disagree on this one, Doc. You make a valid point as people would not come out to see a Cub steal a base. However, I think a fan paying to attend the game likes the “excitement” of a Tony Campana on a team so reeling in speed in the past.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            This is comparable to a Harry Potter movie.  Yes, there is a segment of the crowd that wants to see something particular: I Want Campana to Steal or I Want Hermione to Say X! However, Joe and Jane Public is at the film or the ballpark with little expectation about what those particulars are, and really is there to be entertained by a good story/game.  Campana stealing will help make it enjoyable: but most of the people going barely know who he is.

            (This is not a rap on Cubs fans: it really applies to most baseball fans; we “hardcores” tend to forget this, just as hardcore Tolkien fans probably forgot that most of the movie audience needed subtitles to understand the Elvish, especially those scary people with protruding chests and flared hips.)

  • ry34

    lets see, in this putrid 10 game stretch, the cubs have scored 27 runs, most of which have come in 9th inning of blowouts, scored 1 run twice, 2 runs twice, and been shut out twice. hopefully maholm pitches w a big set tonight and we can maybe score 3 runs of correia, a guy who has been torched all year!

    • Diesel

      You know whenever a pitcher has been bad all year he pitches close to perfect against the Cubs.  It’s just the law or something.  I don’t know.  Brett you’re a lawyer is that law on the books somewhere?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Just a city ordinance. You’d think the Cubs could ignore it from time to time, especially on the road.

  • JOF

    Living in Dublin, I cant handle staying up til 3am watching this anymore. Any streaming sites where I can watch iowa.

  • die hard

    Insanity is doing same thing over and over expecting a different result….Sveum is playing the hand hes dealt by front office….so can only be partially blamed…..but would think that should be able to find a way to overcome Stewart’s tanking….what about Castro at 3B, Barney at SS and Cardenas at 2b for 10 games to see what happens?…nuttin to lose….

  • CapnCub

    I hear 11, but I don’t want to believe it. I sure hope they can get out of this, I didn’t expect any magic this year, but a 10 game losing streak is always hard to swallow. I still can’t figure out how the Cubs came up with a formula last night to have 12 batters in scoring positions and no runs.

    • Cubbie fan lost in Atlanta

      There is a magic number.. and it’s 104. (number of days Rizzo can be on our roster and not lose the extra year.)

  • Cubbie fan lost in Atlanta

    HA! the only way to see tonight’s game is to actually be in Pittsburgh…

  • Kevin

    I’m at the game, 1st time at PNC Park. What a great place to watch a game. Pittsburgh did it right.

  • Cubs1967

    The Curse of Rahm continues to 11 games!

  • CBP

    Did that just really happen

  • Curt

    what a load of crap he’s had his shot dolis can’t throw strikes next man in please

    • Joe

      I don’t think there is a next man.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Yes I am a Theo guy, and yes, I am saying it doesn’t matter who managed this team. The problems abound. It is clearly the worst every day line-up in the Major leagues and the bull pen is a complete joke. Sveum isn’t to blame. Cub fans like no others could pick apart any manager, it’s unique to our psyche.

    If what you see is so abhorrent, get used to it. This didn’t take a crystal ball to predict, everyone wanted to do it the right way and lose a couple years to get it all done right. Welcome to losing. You have to have fundamentally sound players who can do a lot of the little things. Enter DeJesus. Soriano, Castro, and the rest are not fundamentally sound doing the little things. There’s probably hope to take Castro apart and rebuild him, most of the rest not really. And the bullpen is bad, really bad.

    This team hasn’t bottomed, and I am all for doing what they should have done this fall namely back the truck up convert assets to as much as possible and go for the gold, namely draft gold and the number 1 pick along with trading anything that’s not attached.

    But don’t blame Sveum he’s got complete sh t to work with and that is all on Theo, Ricketts and Jed. I think they’ll get it right, but if you’re looking for miracles this season you need some happy pills, they aren’t on the way. This team as constituted is the worst in MLB and the only question now is how many years of this people want. I want few, so get what we can start to commit resources as soon as we can and shorten the number of 100 loss seasons. We lost 90 last year and will lose over a 100 this, so how many more would people like?

    • Joe

      I don’t think Chicago deserves the worst team in baseball Mike F. Do You?

      • Cubs1967

        no we don’t; Cubs fans are & always will be the best!!

        this is all on Theo and Tommyboy………..they should be ashamed.

  • T Larson

    One word, PATIENCE !! We have waited for over 100 years, we can wait 4 more.

    • Joe

      PATIENCE? Really? I have heard that close to 100 years. (45 really) Cub’s fans have been more than patient, thank you.

  • T Larson

    Well, Iv’e been a Cub fan for 47 years and for the first time we actually may have the right people trying to right this ship. Yes, we can and must give them a chance to work their magic. It hasn’t worked the other way. So, yes, 4 years will be worth it. If it fails, I will be more than happy to admit it.

    • Joe

      Magic? What magic? We don’t need any freaking magic! (from an old western movie). No wait, that was we don’t need badges. Badges? We don’t need freakin badges!

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    No I don’t, and I am not sure Buddy the used car salesman did us any favors handing it to Tom Ricketts. I think is was a misstep to keep Crane K, he’s a complete ass…. and not all that baseball smart. Ricketts may not have either the money or intellect to be a great owner, maybe he does, but rest assured Mark Cuban would have been great for the Cubs, then again the garbage on the Southside would have never stood for that.

    I like Theo I think it was a good move. What I don’t know or anyone for that matter is what constraints have been placed on Theo. He says none in public, so taking him at his word, I assume he wanted to go slowly and concentrate all his initial efforts at minor league development. And that shows now at the MLB level.

    Do we as fans deserve a lot losing. Well that’s a tough question. No in one sense, we are great fans. Yes in the sense that we continue to fill the seats for trash. And unless an organization any organization knows it’s fans refuse to be taken for granted they will get exactly what you are seeing. It would be good business in a purely financial sense, if fans put butts in seats to generate a lot of cash in the next 3 or 4 years by trading high dollar players, lowering payroll, going young, and building for the future. It’s lower risk, higher margin and much more simple. No it’s not fair, but as long as goats are willing to pay premium prices for a low class product why not? I think it’s a fine line. The Cubs have always been this theme park lovable loser thing.

    They are not so lovable and they have a name GM who is a hot property so I think we have to see just how astute and discerning Cub Fans are, what they are willing to pay for, and how long they will tolerate something as bad as this. Unlike the last couple of years, the talent to compete isn’t there, so at least in that sense, they aren’t underperforming. This is more of a cynical paradigm by ownership that crappy product, the promise of winning at some undefined point in the future, and effort at the minors will continue the theme park atmosphere and putting butts in seats. And there’s a chance if we get lucky it works. Keep in mind same tune and song, Green, Himes, Lynch, MacPhail and Hendry sang, just different singers and more modern instruments.

    All of that is on us and Ricketts. I don’t think Theo or Sveum are to blame. When we quit going, paying the huge prices for this, Ricketts in my view will be more intense on speeding this up. Trading Dempster, Garza and other pieces, even putting Castro or any MLB piece on the table probably speeds it up, but I think there’s nothing that will change 2012. And if fans continue to pay for tickets, beer etc, it won’t likely change in 2013. They are clearly generating some cash, anyway you look at it. It’s just simple, I don’t like but there’s nothing other than not heading to the Park I can do and it’s certain they will lose over 100 games and be one the worst if not worst team in baseball. Whining about it, calling for firing, and then going isn’t very smart. If we don’t like losing, we need quit supporting it. Management and good business people will always respond when people quit coming.

    • Joe

      Excellent comment Mike F. Very realistic and to the point.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Let me take it a step further, I disagree most in one sense. I do believe they have significantly upgraded the scouting and coaching at all levels and especially at the ML level. If they invest in the best teachers, you won’t have fundamentally flawed guys at the MLB level, certainly like Dolls and even Castro. Although Castro is a talent, he’s flawed in discipline and a lot of the little things. If they have outstanding teaching, and if your identifying teachable talent. In the long run 3-5 years, you’ll have an outstanding organization. It’s one of the key’s to the Cardinals and has been for 5 or 6 decades, they hire great minor league instructors and the players coming through their system fundamentally grounded.

    To this extent, starting at the beginning and righting the Minor leagues in terms of structure and process is brilliant. But for whatever reason, Jim Hendry and his staff’s finger prints are more on this roster than Theo. I guess that more anything shocked, how little they did to upgrade their MLB team. It wasn’t hard to see the wheels were coming off the cart, and for whatever reason, they kept Marmol who has all flat tires and didn’t really shore up their pen. Should have been a sure tip or tell. Now, let’s look, they dumped the salary of Ramirez, didn’t resign Carlos so that’s a 30m piece that at some point in time should come back. They have this year to absorb Zambrano and clearly they would be nuts to step up on Dempster. By trading Garza the one who could return some assets, that would free up another roughly 25 M. So given what they have banked and will bank, they could in the abstract turn this around for 2013.

    It would start with more talent the Minors, maybe we add Soler, some more intl, a topflight draft, hopeful pitching that can fly through the system. And then we move 3-4 players and bring back at least 3 top flight prospects as well as projects. That’s jump starting the process. And then some intelligent use of that 50m they have banked could really make a difference along with guys like Rizzo, Jackson and Vitters.

    But there is this caution. The cubs lack pitching, and the only way to grow it is draft it. And that takes time. To bridge that, they to have some luck, make some deals, and be more active than they have been. But I think they have spent to their credit tremendous time and resources on the draft. I really think once their through this and satisfied with what they have started to build you’ll see a lot of trades and activity. At leas that’s what I hope.

    • Joe

      Good stuff Mike F. You know you’re going to ruffle feathers with Castro trade talk! I agree with a Castro trade by the way.

  • Eric

    They do have some pitching. They have Shark. Even if you do trade Garza you still have a top of rotation talent in Shark who is younger and under control longer. I tend to be on the side of wanting to trade Garza and get as much young high end talent as possible. And to do that you have to trade people at the peak of their value, Garza’s is extremely high right now. If you can get 2 of a teams top 5 prospects + maybe a top 15 for Garza that’s a nice haul of talent, and you still have Shark to build the rotation around. If one of those guys coming back from Garza is a near can’t miss prospect who is just about ready for MLB, all the more better. You can add him to the core of Shark, Castro, and Rizzo and you can start to see a path of building that could be really exciting and fun to watch.

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