When Anthony Rizzo hit a solo home run in the top of the 6th inning during last night’s game against the Detroit Tigers (8/21/2018), my heart sank. It wasn’t because Rizzo fell into what Jim Deshaies called the “downward dog” position after his swing and could have hurt himself. His tumble did not look threatening and he jogged around the bases just fine.
This was probably the one and only Cub home run that depressed me since I’ve been following them, which dates back to when Tony Taylor was leadoff man. Over the years, homers by Duke Snider, Henry Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willy Mays, Mike Schmidt, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Daniel Murphy (not any more, though!), and many, many others would depress me when those hits came against the Cubs. You could feel the long ball coming, especially if the Cubs were winning a close game and needed to get just one more out to … you know the rest.
So why would a home run by a Cub ever make me feel low?
Rizzo’s homer was a solo shot giving the Cubs their first run. I was convinced it would be their only run. They were losing 2-1 after Anthony’s right field blast, and so were close to tying and even going ahead of the Tigers. I should have been optimistic about their chances, right? After all, these are the new Cubs. The winning Cubs. The come-from-behind Cubs. The potentially dynastic Cubs. So why the long face?
Not long after Rizzo crossed the plate, and before the game ended in a Cub loss, I texted Son of Admin (SoA): “Will this be 5 in a row where only [Cub] run is solo HR?”
That’s right. Besides last night’s grim performance at the plate, the Cubs scored only one run via a solo home run on Sunday, and Saturday, and Friday, and Thursday. Last night’s loss made it 5 in a row. They won two of those games 1-0 because the Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense was even more anemic than the Cubs’ those nights, but have now lost 3 in a row.
Thus as Rizzo’s HR sailed into the right field seats, my reaction was, “Oh no! Not again!”
But the Cubs have the best record in the NL, you say.
But the Cubs still have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central, you say.
But the Cubs are 3rd in the NL for runs scored, you say.
I’m just a what-have–you-done-for-us-lately Cub fan, you say.
Well, yeah. But Daniel Murphy should be in the lineup tonight (lineup not available as of blog time). I hope it’s not his turn to hit a solo homer that will be the Cubs’ only run in a losing cause. I will be profoundly depressed if that happens.
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