Despite all the success in May, when the Chicago Cubs overcame what seemed like an injury on a near-daily basis over a two-week span, it looks like things are leveling off – and not in a good way, either.
I don’t want to say that the lights have gone down on this Cubs squad in the City by the Bay, but they’ve certainly flickered or dimmed considerably, with the North Siders dropping the first three games in a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
All of the serendipitous and favorable outcomes from the past month or so have turned sour, and the injuries to the starting pitching and position players alike may have met their match in a quietly stellar, gritty, and inexplicably first-place San Francisco ball club.
Sure, part of the problem is probably the Cubs were a bit lucky in all of the one-run games over the past few weeks, but it’s also always difficult on these road trips to California, especially when you play seven games in a week without an off day for travel as part of the equation.
Add in an emergency appendectomy for Trevor Williams, some bad lunch for Jake Arrieta and a lineup already reliant on numerous guys who should be bench players rather than starting every day, and you’ve got a recipe for some bad sushi.
Chicago Cubs seem to be getting healthy just in time – can it turn the tide?
The bullpen has still been fabulous, which is a sign that they’re legit and not some flash in the pan, but the starting pitching has scuffled a bit and struggled to give length to skipper David Ross. While the pen hasn’t skipped much of a beat, the added pressure and innings have forced them from their perfect pedestal and made them a bit more human. Without several offensive stalwarts available and several starters in a rut at the plate, it’s been a bit of a perfect storm as the Cubs most difficult road trip so far this season began.
Patrick Wisdom has continued his impressive run since being called up, but everyone else in the lineup has struggled in the series. Joc Pederson has two home runs, but has come up empty in his other eight at bats. Kris Bryant also has a bomb, but is just 2-for-11 so far. Javier Baez has just one hit in his 12 at-bats and Willson Contreras is only 2-for-10. All of them have something on the Captain, as Anthony Rizzo is still hitless in 12 at bats in this series, putting up an 0-for-4 in each game so far.
While this mini slump was bound to happen at some point, with the reliance on guys like Eric Sogard (1-for-7 so far in the series), Rafael Ortega, and Sergio Alcantara, it’s actually been the core starters who have struggled the most so far in San Francisco.
All that being said, with Kyle Hendricks on the mound and three losses behind them already, today’s as good a day as any to break out of the slump, get some lucky breaks, and pound old pal Johnny Cueto to get off the schneid.