Will this current slump force a panic move by the front office?
Only two weeks ago it was hard to pick out what the Chicago Cubs’ weaknesses were – after this past handful of games there may be a few to pick from. Against the Brewers, the Cubs couldn’t find a way to score runs against a team that is fourth in all of baseball in runs allowed. Monday night against the Cardinals, it looked as if the Cubs found their bats again in the first inning, only to allow the Cardinals right back into the game at the bottom of the inning.
The bullpen started out as one of the stronger ones in baseball, but the middle relief has become very unreliable. Are they burned out, or were they not really as good as thought? It is hard to say – maybe a little of both. Some may not be as good as first shown (Phil Coke, you’re making me look bad), but even the back end of the pen other than Hector Rondon has struggled lately.
The power numbers are not there for the Cubs. They can get on base, but they have to depend on aggressive base running and timely hitting instead of one of the big bats launching one into the stands.
The starting pitching, for the most part, has been the one constant with the team. Jon Lester now that he’s had enough time to get his arm in regular season form with a shortened spring has looked better. Jake Arrieta had one bad outing, Jason Hammel has been solid, and Kyle Hendricks has pitched well enough for the fourth starter but doesn’t have a win to show for it. Travis Wood has been what you usually see out of a No.5 starter, inconsistent at times but able to eat innings.
With the inconsistency and the recent tough losses – will the Cubs’ front office feel the need to force some sort of change to the roster? If the Cubs do not want to make a trade, then maybe with a promotion from someone that impressed the team in the spring that could be ready for the promotion.
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The Worst thing that can be done right now is to panic about all that is going wrong. It is rarely seen that a team goes from being very good and dangerous to unreliable within a week’s time. Joe Maddon has been through these ups and downs while with Tampa Bay and even as an assistant with the Angels. This is nothing new to him so I don’t see him panicking.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer also are too smart to think that this trend of bad play will continue for too long. I’m sure a team like the Phillies who have been rumored to the Cubs with Cole Hamels could come calling to offer the services of a player to help their needs, but that isn’t the answer to what is going on.
I don’t see Javier Baez being called up yet, especially as he is just getting himself back in a baseball mind set after the personal family tragedy that he went through. C.J. Edwards could come up and I think is probably the next to come up, especially if the performance that the bullpen has been having continues much longer.
So while it would be easy to throw some money and add a new all-star to this team, it isn’t needed. To have these early struggles could be a positive in the end game. If they can come back after a rough patch and be even better and come together even more as a team then this little slump that they are going through could be a turning point to look back on later as the moment this team became what Cubs fans have wished for.