Chicago Cubs: The defense can’t possibly get any worse, right?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

One of the beautiful things about the baseball season is there are games played every day and that is why Tuesday really sucked for Chicago Cubs fans.

Not only did the Chicago Cubs show one of the worst efforts I’ve seen during the Joe Maddon era on Monday night, but because of an off-day, Cubs fans had an entire day to think about a  lackluster 1-3 start to the season.


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To put it simply, the Cubs’ defensive effort Monday in Atlanta was the worst since former top prospects Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson suited up for the Cubs. If those names don’t ring a bell in your head, August 10, 2012 was the last time the Cubs committed at least five errors in a game. The Cubs lost 100 games that season. What’s worse is they actually committed six errors in Monday’s loss to the Atlanta Braves.

After two home runs in two days for Kyle Schwarber, many questioned why Mark Zagunis was starting in left field. Southpaw Sean Newcomb started for the Atlanta Braves, which queued a heavy right-handed lineup from Maddon. Anthony Rizzo was the only left-handed hitter to start.

Fresh off signing a team-friendly four-year extension, Kyle Hendricks forced an easy pop up to the Atlanta Braves leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, resulting in Zagunis dropping the ball for the first error of the game. The very next pitch, Inciarte led off the bottom half of the first inning with a home run.

Later in the inning, Hendricks forced a Nick Markakis ground ball to Rizzo for a double-play opportunity. His throw to second got the force out but Javier Baez attempted to get the out at first base and instead threw the ball offline toward the Braves dugout, allowing a run to score. Now with two outs, Hendricks forced a tough pop up in left-center field and due to a miscommunication from Zagunis, Albert Almora and Baez the ball dropped into play, keeping the inning alive. While the play was tough, we’ve seen Baez make this kind of play nine times out of 10 tries. It was that kind of night.

In Brian McCann‘s return to Atlanta, he received a standing ovation and on the first pitch from Hendricks, he wasted no time taking advantage of the Cubs’ mistakes, ripping a base-hit to center, scoring two more runs. 4-0 Braves after one inning.

In the third inning, Rizzo, a former Gold and Platinum Glove Award winner, committed two errors on a ground ball to first base. He failed to glove the ball cleanly and then proceeded to throw the ball into the Braves dugout.

It got uglier in the fifth. With two runners on, Hendricks forced Dansby Swanson to hit a comeback liner that went off his’ glove and ricocheted toward the second base side. The Cubs had the infield shifted to the third base side, but David Bote was able to retrieve the ball. Instead of just holding onto the ball, he made a throw to second allowing not one but two runs to score in the process.

7-0 Braves.

The sixth error of the night was made in the sixth inning on a ground ball to Kris Bryant where he failed to field the ball. The Braves tacked on another later that inning. 8-0 Braves.

The last time the Cubs committed six errors in a game? September 12, 2006. The Cubs lost 96 games that year. The last time they committed six errors in a nine-inning game? 1982.

That was the theme of the night. The Cubs beat themselves. I know we are four games in and there’s a lot of baseball to be played but this is not the start this front office envisioned entering the season. Bullpen troubles over the weekend and now, apparently, the Cubs’ best defenders can’t field the baseball?

Next. Cubs' decision to not start Schwarber is not acceptable. dark

There’s nothing more to say than to just play better. I can wait another seven years for the Cubs to commit five errors. If there are any positives from Monday’s debacle, the bullpen was lights-out, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings. It’s not much but at least it’s a step in the right direction.