Chicago Cubs lose round one of “avoid the basement” battle


Chicago Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson stands on the mound looking to the sky.
Edwin Jackson seeks divine intervention.

On the day Carlos Marmol‘s long overdue DFA’ing by the Chicago Cubs was announced, the team came to Milwaukee tied for fourth place in the NL Central. When there are only five teams in a division, a fourth-place tie means both teams are in the basement. And since only one team should have that indignity, this week’s three-game set will leave one team as the undisputed worst team in the division.

The Brewers had two advantages working for them in Tuesday night’s game: the home field and a starting pitcher not named Edwin Jackson. I’ve been rough on Jackson before, going back to the day that he signed with the Chicago Cubs, but he’s now at 10 losses on the season, and we’re not yet at the All-Star break. In some years of Jackson’s career, he didn’t lose 10 games all season long. But last night’s pitching line is not a pretty sight: 4.2 innings, six runs (all earned), six hits and only one strikeout.

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The word is out that the Cubs will be sellers at the trade deadline this year, just as they were last year. Names like Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano are being bandied about, and there will be a much different Cubs roster after the dust settles August 1. Whoever gets traded away will probably be relieved to have a chance in a new city, while whoever comes here will wonder what they did to deserve being traded to the Chicago Cubs.

It sounds like I’m down on my team, but when one championship trophy is already in town, it magnifies the sustained failures of the other teams that also play here. The Blackhawks were left for dead just a few years ago, and now they get to have a victory parade at the end of this week. Different sports, yes, but different results, too. And if the Chicago Cubs’ descent into the basement of their division is any indication, the two franchises are trending in different directions, too. This can’t be good news for a fan base whose patience already is waning.

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