Rapid Reaction: Giants 3, Cubs 2
June, 4, 2012
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
The Chicago Cubs were swept in a four-game series by the San Francisco Giants after a 3-2 defeat Monday and have now lost 16 of their last 19 games.
How it happened: The misery for the Cubs is getting to be cruel and unusual as the Giants scored the tying run on the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice and scored the winning run on a double-play ground out. The Cubs got some offensive flow going in the second inning with two-out RBI singles from Steve Clevenger and Jeff Samardzija, but nobody from the top of the order could contribute a clutch hit in the later innings.
What it means: The Cubs’ losing ways continue to recall futility from the past. Their 11-game road losing streak is the club’s longest of that length since another 11-game road slide June 18-29, 1954. That was the first full season for Ernie Banks on the North Side.
Outside the box: Samardzija figured out how to work around five walks, but he couldn’t solve the season-long Cubs riddle of how to win a game without much run support. The right-hander gave up just two runs over five innings and has not given up more than three runs in any of his last eight starts. Three of those starts have ended in no decisions while two more ended in defeats. What’s been the secret to his 3.13 ERA? Part of it is how he has handled No. 3 hitters in the opposing lineup. Including Monday, they are batting .097 (3-for-31) against him.
Off beat: Shortstop Starlin Castro's failure to know how many outs there were in the fifth inning might not have made a difference, but it’s something that can’t happen for a club that can’t afford any lapses in concentration. With the bases loaded and one out, Castro got the force out at second base but neglected to throw the ball to first base to complete the double play. Television replays showed he probably wouldn’t have gotten the out anyway, but a dismayed manager Dale Sveum could be seen shaking his head long after the play ended. The Giants scored the tying run on the play.
Up next: The Cubs will send Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.90 ERA) to the mound in the opener of a three-game series at Milwaukee on Tuesday. The Brewers will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 4.22) in the 7:10 p.m. start from Miller Park.