Anderson can't get out of second inning vs. Phillies
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon might accuse observers of outcome bias if they were to tell him the team should have called off Monday night's game before it started.
But start it did, and Cubs starting pitcher Brett Anderson was finished early.
After waiting out a rain delay of 1 hour and 25 minutes -- and starting the game while rain was coming down -- the Cubs and Anderson fell behind the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 in the first inning. The Phillies chased Anderson with 3 more in the second and went on to win 10-2.
Anderson saw his ERA rise from 3.54 to 6.23. Cubs starting pitchers have an ERA of 4.70. What's more, the Cubs have been outscored 32-18 in the first inning.
The Cubs entered the night, and the month of May, with a record of 13-11. That had them in first place by 1 game in the National League Central, but this team can't escape the shadow of last year's world-championship club, which started 25-6.
"Every year has its own separate identity," Maddon said. "I love where we're at right now based on the fact that we haven't played our best baseball yet. If we had been just, like, kicking it and be in this position, I'd be a little bit more concerned, but we haven't.
"Our starting pitching has not been as good as it was at the beginning of last year, but it will be. Offensively, we're still not hitting on all cylinders, but it will be. And defensively, even (Sunday in Boston) we made a couple mistakes we normally don't make, and that's going to go away."
Maddon and the Cubs repeatedly cited the start of this season, including the world-championship ceremonies on the first homestand, as factors in the sluggishness.
Outfielder Jason Heyward sounded that theme.
"We lost two series and won the rest of them," he said. "Everybody's playing pretty well. You start off playing against your division. You play a lot of meaningful games right away. It's a good start, considering."
The Cubs signed Anderson in January after he suffered through an injury-plagued season with the Dodgers. He won the starting job over fellow lefty Mike Montgomery in spring training. Montgomery replaced Anderson in Monday's game.
"I still see him as adjusting to being here," Maddon said of Anderson. "I don't know that he's fully landed and he's fully understood being a Cub. My point is as he really settles in, he's going to pitch really well, meaning if you see the sinker (and) many, many balls on the ground, jamming guys, rarely the ball in the air, rarely the ball in the gap. When you start seeing that out of him, and of course with the good health.
"That's always been the issue. And it's not even been throwing the baseball. It's been everything else. The things that have happened to him in games already, having to duck a throw from (Anthony) Rizzo. He's just that guy. He's like Lucky Eddie from Hagar the Horrible.
"Heads up, there's always a cloud over him, somehow, where something may horribly happen if he's not careful. He just has that rain cloud so we have to be careful with that."
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