Just when Dale Sveum thought he was about to survive his first season as Cubs manager with at least some of his sanity still intact, along comes two more baffling base-running gaffes by yet two more young Cubs on Sunday.
“It’s like a vitamin,” Sveum said. “One-a-day.”
Even in victory Sunday, Anthony Rizzo got picked off second by the catcher for the third out when he lost count of the strikes and jogged into no-man’s land on what he thought was an inning-ending strikeout on Alfonso Soriano’s strike-two swing.
The after capping the Cubs’ four-run sixth with a bases-loaded, pinch single to right, Bryan LaHair got nabbed off first on a should-I-go-or-should-I-stay move on the throw from the outfield. He walked right into the tag at first, after first base coach Dave McKay had told him to continue to second to draw the throw and allow the trailer run to score on the play.
It scored anyway as the Cubs went on to a 7-2 win.
“That’s stuff you just don’t see,” Sveum said of the gaffes that have become contagious and epidemic in recent weeks.
In one two-week span, the Cubs had runners thrown out trying to take third for the third outs of innings, wiping out would-be runs on would-be sacrifice flies – including once during last week’s series in Colorado.
And in the same time frame, Luis Valbuena was caught napping off second after a double, rounding the bag and standing there to adjust his batting gloves while the ball was tossed back to second before ever getting back to the mound on the play.
“Strange stuff,” Sveum said. “Unbelievable.”
Should make for some interesting potential the next three days as the Cubs close out their season at home against the only other team in baseball as young and mistake-prone: the 106-loss Houston Astros.