The Cubs were the equivalent of an extra-strength sleeping aid for bleary-eyed TV viewers Friday night, stretching their consecutive scoreless innings streak to 25 in a 1-0, 11-inning loss to San Diego.
"If you play baseball long enough, you expect to struggle at some point," Todd Walker said. "That's just part of the game. But this has been difficult because now you want to blame the fact we lost our main guy, and that's not what's happening.
"Everybody has still got a responsibility. I'm to blame more than anybody. When your No. 3 or 4 hole hitter is not hitting the ball, you're going to lose, and that's the bottom line. And I'm [1-for-14], so I've got to figure it out. As a whole we've got to do our job. But it has nothing to do with the fact we don't have Derrek [Lee]."
The Padres pushed across the winning run off Scott Williamson in the 11th on Khalil Greene's leadoff walk, a stolen base and a one-out, RBI single by Josh Barfield.
The Cubs have now lost six of seven and been shut out four times over their last six games, scoring three runs in 55 innings and hitting .201 in that span.
"You get past angry," manager Dusty Baker said. "You're just frustrated. Angry is not the word. There's not a whole bunch to say. We've just got to do it."
The last time the Cubs were held scoreless for 25 straight innings was Aug. 11-14, 2000, the first year of Don Baylor's regime. The last time the Cubs went 30 or more innings without scoring was 1992, when they went 36 scoreless innings from April 27-May 1. The club single season record for being shutout is 22 games, set in 1915 and tied in '68.
It doesn't seem out of the question to think the '06 Cubs could challenge that mark. They're last in the National League in runs and total bases, second to last in home runs and walks and third to last in on-base and slugging percentage.
Chan Ho Park and two relievers held the Cubs to four hits over 11 innings, spoiling Carlos Zambrano's most dominating performance to date. Zambrano threw seven shutout innings and struck out 10 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in a scoreless tie in the top of the eighth. He's still winless after seven starts.
Well before the game even began, Zambrano showed he was in charge. When the Cubs' gray road jerseys were hung in every players' lockers, suggesting that was the uniform they'd wear. Zambrano hung his blue road jersey in his locker, and since the starting pitcher gets to choose what color jersey they wear, the team had to conform to his wishes.
Zambrano was at peak form instead of pique form, but the Cubs' pop-gun attack was stagnant once again. Park held them hitless for 4 2/3 innings, and they left the bases loaded in the eighth when Juan Pierre grounded out to end the threat.
They fared no better against the Padres' pen. The Cubs had two on with one out in the 10th against Trevor Hoffman before Matt Murton popped out and Pierre lined to center. Walker's one-out double off Alan Embree went to waste in the 11th when Aramis Ramirez grounded to short and Michael Barrett fanned on an eye-level fastball.
"When you swing at a high pitch, you're trying too hard," Walker said. "I did that in the first inning. That's exactly what's happening, but it's not a little bit of pressing, it's a combination of a lot of things."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times