With Wednesday's one-sided loss at Cincinnati, the Cubs have dropped 9 of 13 games and have now failed to win any one of their last five series.
The dark time began two weeks ago, during the second of two games in Colorado. In the last of the eighth inning, an error by Ryan Theriot opened the door to a two-run Rockies rally, a 4-2 Cub defeat, and a split of the teams' two-game set. Since then, the Cubs have dropped two of three each to the Nationals, Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds.
As for today's mess, Jon Lieber became only the second Cub pitcher ever to serve up four home run balls in one inning. (Phil Norton was the other, back in 2000.) That's bad enough, but the fact that two of the longballs were hit by former Cubs Paul Bako and Jerry Hairston, Jr.—Bako's was a 400-foot-plus shot—really underscores how weak Lieber's performance was.
Lou Piniella was non-commital after the game regarding Lieber's possible future in the starting rotation.
"We don't need to make a decision right now. We'll think about it and see what we can do."With Scott Eyre coming off the DL this weekend, my guess is that Sean Marshall will get the ball the next time the fifth spot in the rotation rolls around.
And speaking of fifth starters, the Cubs' third-starter-turned-fifth-starter-turned-Iowa-Cubs-starter, Rich Hill, had his first minor league outing Tuesday night. As Mike Wellman reports at The Cub Reporter, it wasn't great.