The inability to get on any sort of roll for the Chicago Cubs is concerning. This isn’t a terrible team, but it’s certainly not a consistent one. We keep hoping that they’re ready to “break out,” but we’re still waiting.
I’m as guilty as the next person. Every time the Chicago Cubs have a good offensive game, I think to myself, “This is it. This is where it starts.” And here we are, a game under .500 and I’m still waiting for that season-turning game to come. These little glimpses of breakouts give me just enough for hope. But that’s all I have. I said at the beginning of the season that if the Cubs struggled out of the gate, there would be no panic from me until after the All-Star break. That time creeps closer.
And it seems as the two sides can’t come together to help the team out, either. Jake Arrieta’s performance last night wasn’t great, but it was good enough to get a win–especially in the last two years. But just two runs and four hits later, it’s another loss for Arrieta. The bullpen has held up quite well. But when you’re down and can’t score runs, that can easily be overlooked.
I feel like this tweet that I saw last night said it all:
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This is something that, in a way, is obvious. The Cubs are scoring less, allowing more, and the record isn’t even close to what the Cubs were last year. Now, in fairness, last year’s team was something special. It’s hard to hold up any team to them in the numbers and say “This team isn’t as good.” Of course not. Take the special season that was 2016 and appreciate it. Try not to compare this team to it, because it isn’t fair. But, look at this team on its merit, and you’ll still find a similar conclusion. This team is “meh,” and nothing seems like it’s changing.
Repairing the culture
So how do we fix them? That’s the million dollar question. Many of the fans would like to see the Cubs go out and get a long-term, team controlled starter. The cost? No less than one of our MLB guys, and a few mid to top level prospects. This is where the conversation becomes clouded. Last year, the Cubs and their fans weren’t worried about the farm system. Trade them. We’ve got too many. Then 2017 happened, and that’s not been the case.
The Cubs have had to pull from that pool of talent that they were ready to trade away. Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario seemed to always top that list. Happ has established himself with the Cubs. As I’ve said for the last year, Happ wasn’t trade bait then, isn’t now. But you can’t get what you’re looking for without giving something up in return.
Offensively, this team is capable. We know that. So how does Theo Epstein handle that? Will all the Cubs continue to slump as they have? Or will they eventually break out and start doing the things we know they’re capable of? Easy for us fans to say trade this guy or that guy when it’s not our job on the line.
With the Cubs about to hit the All-Star break, all but one will have the week off. The rest and chance to refocus on this season will be good for them. Kyle Hendricks should return after the break, and the deadline looms not long after that. This season has been an interesting one, but not for the right reasons. It isn’t likely to be any less intriguing in the second half. Let’s just hope the Cubs aren’t dismantling this team due to panic.