CHICAGO (MCT) — The Cubs’ losing streak ended at 12 games Monday with an 11-7 victory over the Padres at Wrigley Field, ending a stretch general manager Jed Hoyer referred to as “torture for all of us.”
Of course, Hoyer has been in Chicago only a few months.
He hasn’t experienced the pain most Cubs fans have endured, including double-digit losing streaks, a ball through Leon Durham’s legs or off Steve Bartman’s hand, or the Milton Bradley experiment, just to name a few.
But they always seem to come back for more, and a crowd of 38,452 was on hand Monday to watch the Cubs crush four home runs with the wind blowing out at 24 mph, negating four home runs off Cubs starter Travis Wood.
The Cubs fell two short of the team record for consecutive losses, and raised the “W” flag at Wrigley for the first time since May 9.
“Now we’re rolling,” Wood said, getting a bit ahead of himself.
After what the players and coaching staff have gone through the last two weeks, no one could blame Wood.
“(Bleeping) relief, don’t kid yourself,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Sveum opened himself up for criticism in the first by having Joe Mather bunt on a day when even Darwin Barney would homer. Fortunately for the first-year manager, the win made it a moot point.
Even President Theo Epstein could relax. Before the game, Epstein couldn’t remember whether he’d gone through such a long losing streak in his career as foundation-builder.
“I usually go numb after six games, so it’s hard to tell,” Epstein said. “I’ll have to check the records.”
A check of the records finds that Epstein’s former team and current team are a combined 23-52 since Sept. 1 of last year, when the Red Sox went into their late-season collapse, leading to his exit. That’s a .306 winning percentage over three months of baseball, a stretch that would drive anyone crazy.
Epstein said he understands fan discontent.
“The fans have a right to be upset any time we’re not playing winning baseball, especially during stretches like this,” he said. “I understand it. If we start making decisions based on it or scrap plans because of it or try to put Band-Aids on situations, we would be doing the fans a disservice in the long run.
“I always operate with the belief that the only way to make fans happy in the long run is to get to a point where we’re playing baseball in October on a regular basis, and nothing’s going to get in the way of that. Sometimes, when you rip the scab off, there’s some pain until we grow some new skin. We’re going places. This is a tough road.”
It’s only Memorial Day, and the Cubs have four months left to show they have a pulse.
“I believe in this team,” Alfonso Soriano said. “Because we’re not that bad.”