How it happened: In what was perhaps the sloppiest game of the season, the Cubs committed five errors, including one from Starlin Castro at shortstop. Castro also lost track of the ball while running the bases in the sixth inning and was easily thrown out amid his confusion. With the wind blowing in, it played more like a day when the wind was blowing out as the teams combined for 18 runs and 28 hits, but just one home run.
What it means: The Cubs were obviously going to regress some after a number of players were traded but the level of the regression has been shocking. The five errors on Friday were completely out of character from the team of late, although two of the miscues were by newcomers Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson. The Cubs entered Friday with a .990 fielding percentage over their last 36 games since June 27, the top fielding mark in the National League and the second best in baseball during that stretch.
Outside the box: The Cubs’ five errors were their most in a single game since they committed six in a Sept. 12, 2006 game against the Dodgers. Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus and Darwin Barney were the only starters (non pitcher) who did not make an error. The Cubs had gone errorless in 25 of their previous 36 games and had only committed an error in consecutive games three times.
Off beat: When the wind is blowing in from left field at a 25 mph clip runs will be at a premium at Wrigley Field. The last thing you want to do is to help your opponent. Yet that is exactly what the Cubs did in the third inning when first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Josh Vitters and shortstop Starlin Castro all made fielding errors. That the Reds only scored three runs was an accomplishment in itself considering that pitcher Justin Germano had to get the equivalent of six outs in the half inning.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (4-8, 4.77 ERA) to the mound Saturday against the reds in the third game of the four-game series. Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 4.05) in the 3:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.