The Chicago Cubs have tried almost everything--changing uniforms, holding chats with fans, juggling the batting order. Still, they can’t win at home in 1994.
They broke a 92-year-old club record by losing their 12th consecutive home game, falling to the Cincinnati Reds, 5-2, Tuesday as Tony Fernandez and Hal Morris drove in two runs apiece.
The previous record was set in 1902, when the Cubs played at West Side Grounds. The previous Wrigley Field record was 10. The NL mark is 14 by the 1911 Boston Braves.
“You have to think about the (NL) record,” Cub Manager Tom Trebelhorn said. “It’s getting urgent for all of us.”
The players are frustrated, too.
“We are trying hard but nothing helps,” said pitcher Jose Bautista. “When we pitch good, we don’t hit. When we hit, we don’t get the pitching. We need our starters to go six innings.”
Trebelhorn, who tried new uniforms on Monday, juggled his lineup Tuesday. Sammy Sosa moved from fifth to leadoff, Karl Rhodes dropped to second and Ryne Sandberg went from second to fifth in the batting order.
“I wanted to get more speed at the top and some more power in the middle,” Trebelhorn said.
But starting pitching failed again, dropping to 4-14 this season. Mike Morgan (0-4) gave up four runs and seven hits in four innings, struck out three and walked one.
“When this team was going good, like in 1992, I’d win that game 5-4,” said Morgan, who knows about losing. “I was on the Baltimore team (in 1988) that lost 21 in a row.”
Erik Hanson (2-1) allowed two runs--one earned--and six hits in five innings. Jeff Brantley pitched the ninth for his third save.
“I didn’t have my good stuff today but I hung in there,” said Hanson, who didn’t want to be the guy who lost the first game at Chicago in 1994. “It’s in the back of your mind. You don’t want to be that guy.”
The Reds sympathize with the Cubs.
“We went through a streak where we lost nine or 10 in a row. They just have to bear it. They are going to win. They are a good team,” said Barry Larkin, who had two of Cincinnati’s 11 hits.
Cincinnati went ahead, 3-0, in the second. Fernandez, six for 10 with nine RBIs against Chicago this season, doubled in the first run and Morris drove in two with a bases-loaded single.
“Tony has just been playing great, getting those big, key RBIs,” Red Manager Davey Johnson said.
Fernandez’s sacrifice fly in the third scored Thomas Howard, who doubled.
Derrick May left after spraining his left wrist stretching for Howard’s hit into the left-field corner.
Steve Buechele and pinch-hitter Kevin Roberson had RBI singles in the fourth as the Cubs closed to 4-2.
Larkin drove in a run with a bases-loaded bunt single in the sixth.