For Cubs, it's how the West was ONE

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
6:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
At this point of a difficult season the goal isn't necessarily about feeling good with yourself as much as it is not feeling any worse.

In that light, the Cubs were able to accomplish two goals during Sunday’s final road game of the season.

[+] EnlargeStarlin Castro
Jennifer Hilderbrand/US PresswireStarlin Castro and the Cubs got their first road win over an NL West team on Sunday.
The 7-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks gave the Cubs their first win on the road over a National League West club, while also preventing them from dropping their 100th game of the season.

That’s how bad it is for the Cubs these days: Mentioning a victory only leads to highlighting defeats.

The Cubs were 0-18 in NL West League cities before Sunday’s game, having already been swept by all five of the teams in the division. The Diamondbacks were the only NL West team the Cubs visited twice.

The failure on the road against the NL West is one in a long list of things that went wrong this season. Oddly, the Cubs did post an 11-4 record at home against NL West teams this year.

The challenge ahead is to sweep the Houston Astros in the final series of the season starting Monday at Wrigley Field. Anything less than a sweep will leave the Cubs with only the third season of 100 or more defeats in franchise history.

Sunday’s victory also prevents this year’s Cubs team from matching a dubious distinction. Even if the Cubs are swept by the Astros, they would only finish with 102 defeats, one short of the franchise high set in both 1966 and 1962.

There were some things Sunday’s victory couldn’t prevent, though. The Cubs have already lost a franchise record 58 road games this season, passing the previous high of 56 in 1956.

So as shallow as the quest for 99 losses might seem to most, it’s all the Cubs have at this point. The guys most responsible for preventing the collision course with the century mark are Monday’s starter Jason Berken (0-2, 5.14 ERA), Tuesday’s starter Chris Volstad (3-11, 6.64) and Wednesday's Travis Wood (6-13, 4.39).

Let the build-up to the final series begin. It’s the 53-106 Astros against the 60-99 Cubs. Good seats still available.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.283 25 55 67
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 55
RA. Rizzo 67
OPSA. Rizzo .924
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104