Many predicted getting Mark Prior back would be like the Cubs “trading for an All-Star,” which is true if they were referring to a local Little League team.
Prior was trying to help the Cubs avoid their second straight home-field sweep Sunday, until he realized it was Father’s Day. Since 1996, Major League Baseball has used the holiday weekend to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer, donating $20,000 for every home run.
Prior did his part Sunday for the cause, giving up four dingers to the Detroit Tigers and opening the door to a humiliating 12-3 loss. The Prostate Cancer Foundation sent a gold-plated letter of thanks to Dusty Baker and his team on Sunday for the $160,000 the Cubs earned them after they gave up a franchise-high eight home runs for the second time this season.
The Cubs went winless on a six-game homestand for the first time since 1997, when they started the season 0-14. They failed to lead even once all weekend, and are now a season-low 16 games under .500. The team found solace that their disaster Sunday benefitted a good cause.
Dusty Baker, a prostate cancer survivor himself, was glad his team’s work was appreciated.
“A good manager may have decided to let Prior pitch on Monday against Indians’ starter Jason Johnson [3-7, 6.00 ERA] instead of All-Star Kenny Rogers, but I knew Mark could help us raise some money and find a cure.” Baker however offered no explanation for pulling a double switch in the eighth with his team trailing by 10.
Friday, Glendon Rusch lasted just 1 2/3 innings. Saturday’s starter, Carlos Marmol, pitched a decent game, giving up four runs over six innings. However, it might as well have been 44 runs as the Cubs—who were outscored 26-9 in the series—somehow scored only three times on 12 hits.
To make room for Prior on the roster, the Cubs placed Rusch on the disabled list with a fake back injury, noting that “severely bruised ego” would likely not be accepted by league officials.
All this seemed to delight the surprising number of Tiger fans who managed to afford the Greyhound trip from Detroit. Unaccustomed to winning, they stumbled into the Friendly Confines with a confused swagger, until a fan in a Ron Santo jersey reminded them of their team’s 43-119 record just three seasons ago.
Number of the Weekend: 17
Victories the Cubs still need to have 43 wins this season.