In different ways, the Cubs and Cardinals are showing how health is everything.
At 8-2, the Cubs are off to their hottest start since 2016. However, it hasn’t all been fun to enjoy. Not only has the bullpen been a hot mess, giving up 27 of the 40 runs this team has allowed this season, but the MLB schedule itself feels like it’s been on thin ice for weeks now.
With the Marlins experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19, some around the league have questioned the continuation of the season. Now, with the Cardinals experiencing an outbreak of their own, that doubt is back and stronger than ever. The Cubs still have no negative tests so far (knock on wood) and they are proving this is the first key to finding success in the short season.
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It’s safe to say the Cubs have taken safety protocols very seriously and have no current cases of the corona virus. This team has rallied around David Ross and is off to a blazing start as a result. Keeping this roster healthy has been the key so far. Kris Bryant battled some illness, went through testing protocols – and was cleared for action Monday, another good sign.
The Cubs are showing that not only what is done on the field matters, but also off the field. Once the coronavirus hits, it’s like a domino effect and this team has been very cautious as a result. Having the opportunity to not only put out the best nine day-in and day-out is great, but to actually play the game is proving to be underappreciated by many.
Regardless of the bullpen struggles, the Cubs’ health to this point has given them the opportunity to play. As a result, the starting rotation has been dealing, posting a 1.95 ERA to this point which is good for the best in baseball. The offense has also been on fire, currently ranking sixth in baseball with 52 runs scored. On the heels of the hot start, they continue to take advantage of a favorable stretch of schedule, seven games with the Pirates and Royals.
The Cubs are an example of how off-field safety is crucial to success. The Cardinals are actually showing the same thing. However, they are learning the hard way. With reports of Carlos Martinez and Jordan Hicks going to the casino, along with Miles Mikolas and John Gant boating in the Ozarks, it seems as if the Cardinals have not been as strict with the protocols. As a result, the team has 13 total cases, including seven players and six staff members. They did not get to play in their weekend series against Milwaukee and just had their four-game set with the Tigers postponed as well.
Sitting at 2-3, this team has to focus on getting healthy before they can even start thinking about getting their season on track. The breakout in their organization right now, even if they get back to playing, puts them at a huge disadvantage already 3 1/2 games out in the division.
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The Cubs and Cardinals are sitting at opposite ends of the spectrum right now. Unfortunately, these two teams are set to meet for the first time this weekend. The healthy Cubs may have their first roadblock of 2020 if the Cardinals can’t get healthy in time. Let’s hope Chicago doesn’t get punished for doing things right.