A week ago, the Chicago Cubs appeared to be at one of their lowest points. They had just endured a 13-1 thumping at the hands of the crosstown rival White Sox, who are on their way to the postseason. Gordon Wittenmyer was among those who blasted Cubs leadership for putting an inferior team on the field for the remainder of the 2021 season.
We all know it’s been a rough year in Wrigleyville, not only as the team is on its way to its first losing record since 2014, but also because management decided to purge the team of most of its remaining star players, including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Craig Kimbrel. Fan apathy was settling in; the paid attendance of just 24,161 in Game 1 of the August 25 doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies may have flashed longtime fans back to pre-Sammy Sosa days.
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The current players were in a difficult position, fill-ins who were just trying to make the most of their newfound opportunity. And after a miserable stretch of baseball for most of August, it would have been easy for David Ross’ team to throw in the towel. Instead, they showed lots of life this past week.
The Cubs have bounced back from that embarrassing loss to the White Sox by winning six straight. Granted, it was against two teams that are also having rough years in the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates. Still, all six games were close, and the team showed a lot of heart by fighting toe-to-toe with their opponents and grinding out wins.
As I browse around social media, it appears that fans are slowly starting to warm up to this current group, even if there have been a lot of empty seats at Wrigley Field lately. Among the new fan favorites is Frank Schwindel, who at age 29 has come out of nowhere to have a red-hot second half of the season. There’s Patrick Wisdom, who at age 30 is having a phenomenal rookie campaign. There’s also Rafael Ortega, who may be an unlikely solution to the Cubs’ recent leadoff spot woes.
Chicago Cubs: The team has proved that it’s not giving up
With just weeks to go in the season and some tougher opponents on the schedule, it’s likely that this hot streak will come to an end and we’ll see once again that the Cubs are overmatched against a lot of opponents. Nevertheless, this was a fun week of Chicago Cubs baseball, one that made us briefly forget our troubles and even embrace some new heroes.
Will Wisdom, Schwindel, Ortega, or any of the others who are having success be able to carry it over into next season and beyond? We can worry about that later. For now, let’s just focus on cheering on this current group of Cubs players and see how well they can do over the final month of the season.