After last night’s loss to the Dodgers, the 2013 Cubs dropped to 55-76, good for last place in the NL Central and a distant 22 games out of first place. That leaves 31 games left this season, with the North Siders trying to avoid another 100 loss season. Despite the public comments from the front office that the Cubs would contend in 2013, expectations were modest for anyone with any vested interest in the boys in blue pinstripes. In reality, the goal was to avoid the mark of shame that is triple digit losses.
By this date last year, the Cubs were 49-77, going 12-24 the rest of the way to end with 101 losses total. With having already played more total games in 2013, the North Siders are ahead of the pace in the win column. So begins the magic number count down to avoid 100. The Cubs would need to go just 8-23 to avoid the dubious achievement.
While getting just eight more wins on the season seems easy to do with over a month to go, it must be kept in mind that last year’s squad managed just 12 in the final stretch of games. The trade deadline player losses that season included two key rotation contributors in Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, which certainly played a part in the down turn. Other notable departures were starting catcher Geo Soto and super sub outfielder Reed Johnson.
The trade losses for 2013 could arguably be more debilitating to the grind for wins, with ace Matt Garza and top power threat Alfonso Soriano having been the major names that have departed. Throw in lead off man David DeJesus this month and one can easily see part of the reason for the Cubs inconsistent output on the offensive side of the game.
Avoiding 100 losses would be visible proof in the standings that the team is improving towards its goal to contend in 2015. My projection at the start of the season had our boys pegged at 92 losses, a modest improvement knowing that valued veterans would be on the block come July. But at this point any loss total in the 90′s would be cause to crack a smile. The Cubs are ahead of the pace compared to 2012 and a 100 loss season will be avoided.