Chicago Cubs: After dropping two of three to Arizona, fans already worried again
By Jake Misener
After Thursday’s 10-8 loss, too many Chicago Cubs fans are ready to drop into full-blown panic mode – despite the team’s strong second-half play.
Really, I thought we were past this. But apparently not. The Chicago Cubs have lost five times since the All-Star Break – but after dropping the series finale to Arizona, too many fans are as critical as ever of the reigning champs.
Never mind the fact Chicago scored eight runs in a game started by Zack Greinke, one of the best pitchers in the league. Forget that Willson Contreras smacked two home runs and drove in six runs. And, of course, it matters not that Wade Davis has been a lockdown ninth-inning man all year and finally ran into trouble.
The offense will have its ups and downs. It comes with youth. And, while the club won it all last year, it is still a remarkably young core. You saw what they’re capable of this week when they hung 16 runs on the Diamondbacks in the opener. On the flip side, they’re also capable of casting plate discipline to the wind and flailing as they did Wednesday.
Chicago faces a remarkably weak schedule the rest of the year. They quite literally control their own fate in the National League Central. Milwaukee and St. Louis both failed to make impactful moves at the deadline, while Theo added big-name talent.
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The Cubs head into the weekend against the best of the NL East in the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper comes back to Wrigley with a 12-game lead in the division and another postseason spot seemingly locked up.
For Chicago, it’s another measuring stick.
Granted, these teams don’t even occupy the same division. But the rivalry remains strong. Both teams are among the best in the league in recent years and with just months till the postseason, they’ll no-doubt be eyeing one another up.
Kyle Hendricks will battle Illinois native Tanner Roark in Friday afternoon’s opener. It’ll be a cool, windy day at the Friendly Confines, with a high in the low-60s forecasted. Roark owns a career 3.38 ERA on the North Side.
The two clubs split a four-game set in D.C. earlier this year. Given the Dodgers’ sheer dominance in the West, the Nats and Cubs are poised to meet in the NLDS this fall. So, breathe, Cubs fans. This team is far from done. Losing two of three to Arizona hardly spells doom.
Step back from the ledge. Look at the bigger picture: an easy schedule, a weak division and a hot offense means there are a lot of good things coming for Joe Maddon‘s club.