PHOENIX – Others are fighting for the playoffs. The Cubs are trying to avoid a 100-loss season.
The Cubs added to their futility in the West with an 8-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. The Cubs are 0-18 in road games against the NL West with one more to go, the series finale in the desert today. The Cubs have lost 99 games.
“At this point we are trying to win four games out of four right now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “A lot of ways it is important because if we lose tomorrow we are going to lose 100 games. That is the bottom line. Tomorrow is as important as any game we play, West Coast or whatever. The bottom line is we have to win tomorrow not to lose 100 games.”
The Cubs have lost seven in a row and 11 of 12. But it’s that 100 number that gnaws.
“We don’t want to lose 100 games,” Alfonso Soriano said. “We have four games left and I have never been a part of a team with 100 loses. We have had a losing team but never 100 games and I don’t want to be a part of this.”
The Cubs close the season with a three-game series at home against the Astros beginning Monday.
Arizona’s Trevor Cahill threw a four-hitter in his third career complete game. Cahill (13-12), 4-1 in his final five starts of the season, struck out a season-high nine and walked three. He was two outs shy of his third career shutout when Soriano hit his 32nd home run of the season in the ninth.
“It’s good, kind of momentum for next year,” Cahill said. “Even though we’re out of it, if we can play good baseball for the last four games, it will just give us a whole mindset going into next year.”
Justin Upton hit a booming two-run homer onto the second deck in left field in the fifth and had an RBI single Arizona’s three-run first. Aaron Hill went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. He doubled in a run in the first and singled in one in the second off Justin Germano (2-10), loser of eight straight starts.
Germano lasted 4 1⁄3 innings, giving up seven runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.
“I have run out of words as what to say. I honestly think I hit a wall this last month, month and a half,” Germano said. “I was having the best year of my career up until that point, as far as consistency and keeping the ball down. These last few starts I can see that I am not finishing pitches like I did the beginning of the year.”
Sveum said the Cubs were “overmatched” with Germano on the mound.
“You can’t sugar coat it or anything like that,” Sveum said. “He has done the best that he can, Germano, but it is tough to go out there against lineups, especially good lineups, and try to get away with 86 miles an hour.”
By going nine, Cahill reached 200 innings pitched for the second year in a row.
He even had a career-high two RBIs, doubling his total for the season. He drew a four-pitch, bases loaded walk from Lendy Castillo with two outs in the fifth and singled home Mike Jacobs from second in seventh.
Jacobs barely evaded the catcher Wellington Castillo’s tag on the throw from the right fielder David DeJesus.
Cahill, a sinking fastball specialist who was acquired from Oakland last offseason, had shutouts in his other two complete games – against San Diego on June 8 and for the Athletics against Kansas City on Aug. 2, 2019.
Cahill got run support in a hurry in his final start of the season for the Diamondbacks, who were eliminated from playoff contention when the St. Louis Cardinals won Friday night.
Adam Eaton led off the Arizona first with a soft single to center, took second on Gerardo Parra’s sacrifice bunt, then scored when Hill doubled to left. Hill had two doubles in the Diamondbacks’ 8-3 win in the series opener Friday night.
Upton singled Hill home, advanced to third on Ryan Wheeler’s two-out single, and scored when Jacobs, filling in for Paul Goldschmidt at first, singled to center.
Arizona got three more in the fifth. Hill singled with one out, then Upton hit the first pitch well into the second deck down the left field line for his 19th home run. Miguel Montero was hit by a pitch and Wheeler walked. Germano seemed to be out of the jam when he got John McDonald to pop out for the second out and bring up Cahill. But the Cubs right-hander walked the Arizona pitcher on four pitches to bring home Hill and make it 7-0.
Notes: Eaton broke his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. Recovery time is estimated at 6 to 8 weeks. ... Darwin Barney was out of the Cubs lineup one day after his streak of 141 games without an error ended. Barney’s streak tied the major league record for second baseman. ... Goldschmidt was out for the second game in a row with a sore back.
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