It took nearly 2 1/2 years for the Chicago Cubs to complete the sale of the team to the Ricketts family.
While that process seemed to take forever, it’s nothing compared to the Cubs’ World Series drought, which is looking like it will continue for another year.
The scuffling Cubs try to avoid losing for the 12th time in 16 games Saturday against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, who seek their first three-game winning streak in more than four weeks.
After winning back-to-back NL Central titles, Chicago (61-59) had high hopes again this season. Instead, it has been one of the biggest disappointments in the majors. The Cubs led the league in runs (855) and on-base percentage (.354) a year ago, but rank 10th in scoring (530) and ninth in OBP (.330) in the NL this season.
With their bats being silenced, the team made much bigger noise off the field earlier Friday with the Tribune Co. selling the team to the billionaire Ricketts family.
Although the Cubs have lost 11 of 15, they didn’t lose any ground in the standings with Friday’s defeat. They remain seven games back of NL Central-leading St. Louis and six behind wild card-leading Colorado, but time is running out on a Cubs team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908.
“It gets painful watching these. It really does,” manager Lou Piniella said.
While Chicago’s frustrations continue to mount, the Dodgers appear to be getting things turned around, winning two in a row after losing eight of 12. Los Angeles hasn’t won three straight since a five-game run July 18-22.
“We got a little ways before we’re back to form. We haven’t played well lately,” said Wolf, who backed himself with a two-run double in the second inning. “We just squeaked out a win and you kind of need to do that to be a good team.”
With Jason Schmidt(notes) and Hiroki Kuroda(notes) out of the rotation with injuries, Haeger has become the 10th starting pitcher used by the Dodgers this season. Haeger made his first start since May 10, 2006, against St. Louis on Monday, giving up three runs and five hits in seven innings of a 3-2 loss. The only runs the right-hander surrendered came on a solo homer to Albert Pujols(notes) and a two-run shot off the bat of Rick Ankiel(notes).
“Anytime I can throw the ball over the plate on a consistent basis I think I’m going to have some success,” the knuckleballer told the Dodgers’ official Web site.
Chicago’s lone All-Star was placed on the DL after his start against Philadelphia on July 20 because of left shoulder inflammation. In his first start off the DL, the left-hander pitched well enough to win, but a meltdown from demoted closer Kevin Gregg(notes), left Lilly without a decision. He allowed four hits with four strikeouts in six scoreless innings of a 4-1 loss to San Diego on Monday.
Lilly earned the victory in his only start against the Dodgers this season on May 29, yielding one run and four hits in seven innings of a 2-1 win. He is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts versus Los Angeles.