What a tremendous Cubs game last night. Thanks to some solid offensive work and a stellar, out-of-nowhere pitching performance by Randy Wells -- 6 and 2/3 innings with nary a hit allowed -- the Cubs took a 5-0 lead into the eighth inning, a victory surely impending.
As tempting as it is to say, "But these are the Cubs," we're not going to do it. That's lame. The closest we'll get is to merely say that you probably know what happened next: The team's two best relievers entered the game, surrendered the lead, and the Cubs ultimately lost in 11 innings. Tremendous stuff, all the way around.
But don't fret. Kevin Gregg wants you to know that last night's loss is akin to your computer suffering some momentary power loss issues. It's just a "glitch."
"This is a glitch in the system," Gregg said. "We're not going to be perfect all year. We're all going to be in a lot of games. Unfortunately, there were five runs given up in the eighth and ninth innings combined. It's unacceptable, but we're going to roll with it. It's one of those things that happens now and then, but on the whole, look at the way the group has pitched down there. "
Except that it's not just a glitch. The Cubs' bullpen is famously mediocre this year. Gregg wants us to look at the way the group has pitched, so OK, let's do that: The assorted WHIPs of the team's primary relievers: 1.657 (Gregg), 1.500 (Marmol), 0.943 (Angel Guzman), 1.696 (Aaron Heilman), 2.091 (Neil Cotts) 1.761 (David Patten). With the exception of Guzman, who has acquitted himself well, the rest of this bullpen pitches poorly all the time.
In other words, Gregg has it exactly wrong. Last night, extreme though it may have been, wasn't the exception. It was the rule.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.