Most baseball fans go through the near heart attack and loss of breath moments in the later months of September and October. Only if your heart belongs to the Chicago Cubs do you experience this in early July.
After the Chicago Cubs came sprinting out of the gate to an amazing 25-6 start, Cubs fans across the country were bold in the fact that this was going to be it, next season was finally here.
Finishing the first half of the season with a 6-15 stretch has brought all that noise to a screeching halt.
I want to believe that the remainder of the season will be a reflection of the series finale in Pittsburgh from Sunday when the Cubs won when they absolutely had to.
Even after the recent struggles, the Cubs still head into the break seven games in front of the Redbirds and seven and a half in front of the Pirates, a lead I think we would have all been proud of on opening day. But still, 6-15 has to make Cubs’ fans a little uneasy.
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The Cubs have had to battle more than just opposing teams the last several weeks. Injuries have picked apart the original starting lineup. A stretch of games that hasn’t been seen in over a decade, including both 11 and nine-game road trips throughout June and the first week of July would have played a toll on any team in the majors.
The strength of the Cubs, the starting rotation, tried their hardest to stay strong backed by Lester throughout the month of June, but finally, we all realized just how human the Cubs pitching staff is.
The Cubs have a lot to look forward to following the All-Star break. They have a much easier schedule, at least until the middle of August when the Cubbies will be headed back out west.
They are also looking forward to some key players returning from injuries.
It is difficult to say the Cubs lineup will get the rest they need with seven starters making the All-Star game and that is something Joe Maddon is going to have to keep an eye on. If we have learned anything throughout the first 88 games, the Cubs manager is a wizard at putting together a lineup when there are no options available.
Anthony Rizzo had some words of encouragement for reporters following the game in Pittsburgh Sunday. “We’re going into the break with our heads up. We can relax a little bit. We got through our rough schedule there. We like where we are.” Rizzo said via ESPN Chicago.
While the Cubs might be satisfied where they stand right now, are the fans going to like which direction they head after the break? Only time will tell which Chicago Cubs team will make their presence known throughout the rest of 2016.