Chicago Cubs: Frustrations, pressure are starting to mount

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Things aren’t going well for the Chicago Cubs right now. Virtually everyone is struggling offensively, there are still a handful of key guys sidelined by injury and some lackadaisical play of late isn’t helping matters.

Chicago skipper David Ross pulled All-Star shortstop Javier Baez during Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians after he was doubled off first after forgetting how many outs there were in the inning on an Anthony Rizzo flyout to left. Of course, over the weekend, Rizzo himself was caught on the base paths twice – so this is far from a Baez-exclusive issue right now.

The loss dropped the Cubs to 10-10 on the month and puts them in a position to quickly erase the gains made during their impressive month of May. 

"“We’ve just got to make sure we’re focused and locked in during the game,” Ross said after the game. “Sometimes, our frustrations can distract us a little bit. We had a good conversation and I think that’s behind us."

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On the month, Baez is striking out in over 40 percent of his plate appearances and is batting just .111 with a .158 OBP. Again, he’s not alone. Kris Bryant has been brutal, as has literally every other player on this team. No Cubs hitter is batting .300 this month. They’ve reverted back to their daddy hacks mentality that has failed them time after time in recent years and it could prove costly if they don’t get their heads right soon.

After the team came roaring back to life last month, everyone put the thoughts of selling to bed. Clearly, Chicago had all the makings of a postseason team – and, if the rotation was addressed – maybe even a World Series contender.

But now the club faces a make-or-break road trip to close out the month of June: four games against the Dodgers in Los Angeles followed by three in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Those seven contests, plus Tuesday’s finale against the Indians at home, gives the Cubs eight games to prove themselves.

Chicago Cubs: This team could quickly turn into sellers again

The Cubs enter Tuesday’s finale at Wrigley at 40-33. Thankfully, this month hasn’t been kind to most NL Central teams and they’ve managed to hold onto a share of first place in the division. But if they go out to Dodger Stadium and lay an egg or, worse yet, the Brewers follow that series up by taking it to the Cubs, Jed Hoyer will face some tough decisions.

Next. Cubs should look to the Pirates as an ideal trade partner. dark

Now, look. I’m not saying the Cubs are sellers. I’m saying this has been a really tough stretch for the team and they need to get it turned around heading into a really tough road trip. The frustrations are evident on a nightly basis and it’s carrying into how the club plays. That can’t be the case if Chicago is going to get back on track.