The Cubs came into their series finale against the Atlanta Braves leading the majors with 104 errors.
Go ahead and make that 108 errors now.
And go ahead and make that another loss to the Braves, the third in four games against visiting Atlanta, this time by an 8-3 margin in front of 36,136 on a day so picture-perfect it almost made the sloppy play in the field palatable.
“We didn’t execute very well all the way around,” second baseman Darwin Barney said. “Sometimes you have those days.”
Or as starter Matt Garza (6-10) so aptly put it, “It is what it is.”
It was Garza who kick-started the error-fest in the first inning when Martin Prado’s grounder eluded first baseman Carlos Pena. Barney was there to scoop it up, but Garza couldn’t handle the throw and before you could say E-1, Braves catcher Brian McCann was depositing a 3-run shot into the right field bleachers.
“McCann’s blow was huge,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. “That to me was the biggest at-bat of the game.”
The Cubs actually fought back to tie the game, but aside from Marlon Byrd’s solo shot to left, they didn’t really do it with the heavy lumber. Their other 2 runs came via a pair of infield nubbers off the bats of Barney and Geovany Soto.
They were also 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and didn’t draw a walk all game.
But it was the errors that really stuck out in this one. From Starlin Castro failing to get a force at second, to Reed Johnson bobbling a routine basehit to left. Heck, even the usually-reliable Barney got in on the fun in the eighth inning.
“With Reed and Barney, you just don’t see that too often,” Quade said.
But unfortunately for the Cubs, Thursday was like an E True Story, for it marked the fifth time this year they have committed a season-high 4 errors.
“We’ve been playing well defensively for the past while now, so it’s kind of disappointing to see that,” Barney said.
But it wasn’t all a comedy of errors out there Thursday. There was Byrd playing Dan Uggla’s liner off the center-field wall to perfection and holding the Braves second baseman to a long single. And there was Barney diving to his right and getting McCann to end a potential rally in the fourth.
But in the end the combination of shaky defense and shaky pitching proved too much for the Cubs to overcome, even though Garza, who left after 5 innings having allowed 6 runs, 3 of those earned, thought he did his part.
“I battled my butt off today,” said Garza, who threw 98 pitches, 67 for strikes. “I’m dumfounded, actually.
“But ... it is what it is.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.