The Cubs have sputtered of late, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
The season is half over and the concerns over the Chicago Cubs grow more and more by the day despite a 13-3 start. It was yet another frustrating night for the team on Friday as they lost 6-5 to the Reds in Cincinnati. They saw an early 2-0 lead turn into a 6-2 deficit in the middle innings. Like their series in Detroit they were down and mounted a comeback that fell just short, resulting in another one-run loss.
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The Cubs going into Saturday were 4-6 in their last 10 and have lost 10 of their last 16 games going back to their four-game set against the Brewers. They have been blown out several times, including against the crosstown White Sox.
Starting pitching has come down to Earth a bit and the offense cannot pick them up, and if they score, it’s too little too late. Hard when a lot of guys continue to struggle offensively. The bullpen has decent days and terrible ones.
What is nice is that going into Saturday the team is still in first place, but depending on what happens in the doubleheader and how the Cardinals play, the gap can be tightened. The Cubs would still need a pretty sizable collapse to miss the postseason with expanded playoffs but so much of what has happened the past few weeks feels much like what people feared going into 2020 and it feels numb at this point.
A lot of trends in recent years have made this stretch not quite as shocking to see.
Even in 60-game seasons, teams will have tough stretches. 13-3 is not a pace that just cannot be sustained and slumps will happen. What makes this recent run feel like more than just a rough patch is that fans are seeing what they feared come to fruition. Inconsistent offense, older rotation that does not dominate like it once did, shaky bullpen. This hurt the Cubs the past several seasons and it feels like the same movie we have watched the past few years.
This short season is weird, and one that many might look at as an “incomplete” one that should not be compared to others in the record books. The season might factor into the fact that there is a numb feeling. If it does not feel legitimate to some, why should too much emotion be put into it? Of course not everyone feels this way considering there will still be playoffs and a World Series trophy to be given out.
In the end they still have several weeks to go, and they can go on another great run. Baseball is often about timing and getting hot at the right time can determine the fate of a season. Right now it feels like whatever happens, happens. They were not favored to win the World Series considering not much was done in the offseason to fix the holes and flaws.
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The 13-3 start momentarily perked up expectations but the skid has brought some of that back down to Earth. If the offense can pick up again, Kris Bryant comes back healthy and the rotation stabilizes again, then there is a path for a run in the postseason.