Chicago Cubs and the June Swoon
Everything was great, and these were not your Grandpa’s Cubs, or were they? In June-July, heading into the All-Star break, the Cubs lost 15 of 20 games. It seemed like everything they worked for was slowly slipping away. The lead went from 11 1/2 games to 5 1/2 games, the best record in baseball no longer belonged to the Cubs, and they just couldn’t get out of their own way. Every run the Cubs scored, the opponent scored two or three in response. Fatigue? Perhaps. Is inexperience catching up with young players? Perhaps. The “Cubs” happening again? Time will tell.
The games during this stretch were high scoring on both sides, unfortunately, the Cubs ended up the wrong side of a lot of the scores. The Cubs never really got an All-Star break, though.
Seven players were selected for the All-Star game, with five starters, which all in all were deserved, aside from the swoon. Fowler, Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Russell, and Zobrist were all selected by the fans, despite some of them not having the best numbers. Arrieta and Lester rounded out the All-Star selections. The Cubs had the most in the National League by far. Arrieta was the only Cub who did not appear in the game.
Like the regular season, the Cubs made their presence known early, as Kris Bryant took American League starter Chris Sale deep in the first inning in San Diego. The American League would go on to win the game, 4-2, clinching home field for the World Series. Would that be of any importance to this Cubs team?
At the All-Star break, Bryant had to be the favorite for the MVP award. His slash line read .286/.384/.578 for a .962 OPS with 25 dingers. Bryant had switched to the outfield for most of the year due to Schwarber’s injury, and filled in more than admirably.