Things went from bad to ridiculous for the Cubs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
Facing the worst-hitting team in baseball, Cubs pitchers allowed 14 hits in a 13-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field
TV: WGN Friday and Sunday; Comcast SportsNet Saturday
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Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Travis Wood (7-9) vs. Joe Kelly (2-1) Friday at 3:05 p.m.; Jake Arrieta (5-2) vs. Shelby Miller (7-8) Saturday at 3:05 p.m.; Kyle Hendricks (1-0) vs. Adam Wainwright (12-5) Sunday at 1:20 p.m.
At a glance: The Cubs are 4-5 against the Cardinals, 2-1 at Wrigley Field. St. Louis has dropped back of Milwaukee after being tied for first in the NL Central. The Cardinals rank 14th in the NL in runs scored, with the offense being split among Matt Adams, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday. The absence of injured catcher Yadier Molina hurts the Cardinals offensively and defensively. Wainwright entered Thursday tied for the league lead in victories, and he was second in ERA (2.02). Trevor Rosenthal entered tied for first in saves (30). The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo went into Thursday tied for the NL lead in homers (25).
Next: Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field: Monday-Thursday
-- Bruce Miles
Before the game, manager Rick Renteria talked of needing veteran pitchers Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood to step up in the wake of the July 4 trade of starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland.
With Thursday night's debacle, the Cubs are 3-13 since that trade.
"I think that would be accurate to describe it that way," Renteria said of needing the veterans to pitch well. "We certainly need to Jax to come out and give us a good outing today and help pick us up a little bit. We're obviously trying to manage our bullpen."
Jackson was going along OK until allowing the first two San Diego batters to reach in the sixth inning. Renteria and the trainer went out for a visit and Jackson left with what the Cubs later described as cramping in his right hand.
Before the inning was over, the Padres scored 9 runs to turn a 3-1 lead into a blowout.
"It's good," Jackson said. "I felt it in the fifth. I felt it around the beginning of the inning. It's unfortunate that the bullpen has to come in a game like that when you go in to the start feeling pretty good."
Managing the bullpen now has become Renteria's newest problem, even as the Cubs go with eight relief pitchers on the roster. Rookie Brian Schlitter came on in relief of Jackson and couldn't get anybody out, giving up 3 hits and 6 runs, 5 earned.
With his 46th appearance of the season, Schlitter tied the equally overworked Justin Grimm for the team lead.
"We use Schlit a lot," understated Renteria, noting Wednesday night's 1-inning performance in the fifth, during which Schlitter walked two. "Yesterday, I know we put him in not necessarily his ordinary situation, but we thought we had an opportunity to go ahead and just kind of stop it (a Padres threat) right there.
"I thought we did everything we could to try to minimize the damage (Thursday), but it ended up kind of escalating no matter who we used today."
As far as Jackson goes, he has just 5 quality starts among his 21 this season. His record fell to 5-11, and his ERA rose from 5.61 to 5.68. Last year he went 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA after signing a four-year, $52 million contract with the Cubs.
With the Cubs 41-59 after 100 games, Renteria will have all he can do to keep things from falling apart completely.
"Right now, they have to know that we're all on the same side, and we got to keep pushing," Renteria said. "Everybody has a different style. My style is not necessarily to come out and blow people up. Many might think in some instances the way to do things.
"There are times for things like that. When you have everybody giving you their heart … they're putting it out there, quite frankly."