The one thing you could say about the new regime Cubs was that they lacked the ridiculousness and embarrassment of the pratfall Cubs in the past. There was no Kent Merker, Michael Barrett, or Carlos Zambrano moments where you're seeing a team just fall apart at the seems. Well...... tick that box my friends. The Cubs lost the to the Braves in typical Cubs fashion- with the bullpen, neigh, Kevin Gregg, allowing 4 runs in the 9th. Afterward, Kevin Gregg went off in the press about losing his closers job, ripping everyone in the Cubs organization. Theo Epstien got wind of the comments and said "fine, if that's how you feel, I'll release you tomorrow". When it was explained that Gregg didn't lose his job, just that Strop would get one or two opportunities to close, Gregg apologized. And apologized. He apologized to Dale, he apologized to Theo, he actually went up to the press box (supposedly winded from the climb.....) and apologized. He went back down to Dale's office and apologized. He went to Slugger's and apologized. He's currently standing by the noodle apologizing right now. Theo said he'll sleep on it before deciding whether to release Gregg or not, but it sounds like Theo is pretty ticked himself. Considering the Cubs clubhouse has become more of a big tent with Jackson, Samardzija and now Save Bot blowing up.
Oh right. The game. Cubs came back from 4-0 to tie it up 5-5 on a lot of home runs. Yes, that line again. Castro, Murphy and Dioner Navarro with the game tying knock. Then Gregg came in, the player piano started, the Braves got 4 runs in the 9th, the Cubs lost and the shenanigans started. Head meet sand.
THE BAKER, THE BUTCHER, THE CANDLESTICK MAKER
Scott Baker looked like a pitcher on rehab after not pitching for almost 2 years. The velocity just isn't there. And today, the movement wasn't really there. The final result was 4 innings, 5 runs on 4 hits while issuing 3 walks. Kudos to the sextet of Rosscup, Rondon, Raley, Grimm, Parker, and Strop for keeping the Cubs in the game.
THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE
This had the looks of one of those "Oh sure.....NOW" games as both Castro and Rizzo had highlights that made you wonder why they weren't playing this way the whole season. Starlin Castro rocked his biggest homer of the year. A no-doubter that makes you think "this kid can hit 20 HR's easily"...only, he doesn't. Castro also made a play in the field where he was closer to McDonalds on Clark than he was to second base but fielded a grounder up the middle to retire Justin Upton. Rare is the day that someone out performs Andrelton Simmons. Rizzo had two more hits today. That's 5 in his last two games. Apparently it is Rizzo's lack of progress which has the front office not as solid on Dale Sveum. Which brings us to....
WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?..........AREN'T YOU?
The Jacson and Samardzija blow ups were fairly understandable. Veterans frustrated at the end of a long season. But this Gregg onekind of turns it into a bigger thing. Now it might be possible that Gregg was kind of thick headed and didn't hear Dale correctly. But everyone read that Sveum said he was going to give Strop one or two chances to close. Everyone. Even me. So how does the message not get to Gregg. Don't you tell him first before you tell the press? And since it comes on the heels of the Samardzija yelling at David bell, and Multiple Ed going Sybill on Sveum, the Cubs have become a mess. This looks like latter day Baker and Mid season Quade.
Otter.....this is ridiculous. But this is what losing teams do. Losing begets losing. And this is how people react when you play on a losing team. So for anyone to be shocked or disappointed....really shouldn't be. Maybe the losing will stop tomorrow when Travis Wood takes the mound against Kris Medlin. Will people even notice? We shall find out. Onwards.