The Cubs aren't going to lose 101 games again this season, but they are making more history of the kind they don't want.
They got out their jackhammers and broke new ground in Tuesday night's 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.
The loss ran the Cubs' home record to 30-50 with one more to play. The 50 losses represent a record for Cubs losses at home. The 1962, 1966 and 1974 clubs each lost 49 games at Wrigley Field. Last year's 101-loss team managed a home mark of 38-43. This year's Cubs are 65-93 overall, and they've clinched sole possession of last place in the National League Central.
A winning season does not look forthcoming next season, and manager Dale Sveum may not be around to see it even though bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer saddled him with two epically bad rosters.
"To lose that many games is something you got to stay away from," Sveum said. "We've got to score more runs at home and do something at home."
The losing has to be getting to the players. Following Monday night's 2-1 loss -- after which the Cubs watched a team celebrate a postseason berth at Wrigley for a second straight day -- veteran pitcher Jeff Samardzija made some interesting comments.
Samardzija can remember when the Cubs went 55-26 at Wrigley Field in the division-winning season of 2008.
"We're getting there, but we need to get some things ironed out and get this team mentally in a spot that that's what we're shooting for," he said.
Maybe Samardzija meant the Cubs need better players. Or maybe he's just sick and tired of the losing every day. Before Tuesday's game, I asked manager Dale Sveum if he had to convince players, especially the veterans, that better days indeed are coming.
"Yeah, on the other hand, you still need the results and you still need to see everybody step up," Sveum said. "That's the bottom line. People have really good years and the people we bring in and all those kind of things, and getting off to good starts. We had that chance this year to get off to that good start. Things snowballed in the second half after playing .500 for three months. Then we lost control of it.
"You have to convince these guys that no matter who you are because there are some guy that are young who are going to be here for a while and other guys that might be a year or two away from free agency that you have to convince them this can happen overnight, believe it or not."
Rusin's rough go:
Starting pitcher Chris Rusin had a tough go of it Tuesday as he lasted just 21⁄3 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs. Rusin fell to 2-6 with a 3.93 ERA.
The lefty has not posted a victory since Aug. 9. He was up last year for a brief time and in some ways, he's turned some corners. But he'll have to remain consistent because there figures to be competition for jobs next spring.
Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson figure to have the top three spots. Jake Arrieta has shown flashes since he came up after his trade from Baltimore for Scott Feldman. The Cubs likely will stretch Carlos Villanueva out to start in spring training.
The Cubs' minor-league pitcher of the year, Kyle Hendricks, no doubt will get a look next spring, and the Cubs probably will add a Feldman-type pitcher in the off-season.
"Obviously we're going to go in like we did last spring training and have about eight guys for the depth," Sveum said.
Barney a non-starter:
Second baseman Darwin Barney did not start Tuesday night's game as rookie Logan Watkins played. It's possible Watkins could get at least one more start over the final four games.
Barney entered the day with a hitting line of .209/.268/.305. He should be the front-runner to win his second straight Gold Glove, but the lack of offensive production is dragging down his overall value.
Sveum was asked if Barney was worn down.
"You never know," he said. "It's hard to say. I don't know about physically, but mentally, he's probably not where he wants to be."