The Chicago Cubs are below .500 at the All-Star Break for the first time since 2014 when they were at the end of a full on tear down and rebuild.
An 11-15 April found the Cubs at the bottom of the NL Central. A scorching hot 19-8 month of May provided a brief respite from the looming disaster of June, a month nearly all saw coming. Chicago somehow maintained a hold on first place all the way to June 23. It was a tenuous lead of one game, but they clung to the top spot in the division.
Then like boxer Tom King in the Jack London short story A Piece of Steak, the Cubs, hammered by injury and denied since season start of their best pitcher and the best backup catcher up in MLB, finally buckled under the repeated blows of three road trips and 25 games against top contenders.
The North Siders wobbled out of a 12-16 June in second place. Then they were cold cocked by the Reds and Phillies. By the time St. Louis rolled into town the Cubs were begging for mercy.
Well, when you trade your top-of-the-rotation pitcher and a switch-hitting backup catcher in baseball for a number four guy and a package of teenagers – and that’s your only real move, what did you expect?
Everyone sees the sell-off coming. Are we surprised? But it wasn’t supposed to be this way. It’s fair to ask, how did it come to this?