The Cubs cooled off to end the first half of the season but remained in first place.
30 Games (18-12) 1st Place NL Central
In the first game of this stretch, the Cubs managed to defeat the Brewers 4-2 in one of many gems tossed by Yu Darvish this season. The win to open the four-game series pushed the Cubs record to 13-3, and the ten games above .500 turned out to be the high-water mark for the majority of the season.
The team dropped the next three games in that series, each by one run in its longest losing streak of the season up to this point.
Coming into town soon after were the Cardinals who, thanks to an early-season casino trip, began playing after two weeks of postponed games due to positive COVID tests. This series against St. Louis was a total of five games, featuring two doubleheaders.
The Cubs didn’t play their best baseball, but somehow found a way to take three of five games in the series. At this point, we began to see some of the struggles that would plague the team for the majority of the season.
Kris Bryant was miserable in the leadoff spot (.177 BA .594 OPS through August 17) and was placed on the injured list for nearly two weeks before returning to action.
If there was good news, it came in the form of the new leadoff man, Ian Happ (.311 BA 1.039 OPS through August 17), who stepped up when the team needed life offensively.
To make matters worse, a struggling Cubs team welcomed a red-hot White Sox squad who took two of three games at Wrigley Field.
It wasn’t the best way to end the first half of the season, but the Cubs kept their heads above water and remained in first place in the division.