Tonight I was watching the tail end of the Dodgers-Mets game. Jordany Valdespin hit a walk-off grand slam to win it for the New Yorkers, and the only thing I was disappointed about was that he didn’t try to square to bunt for a squeeze play and then get hit in the nads again. Anyway, enough about teams we don’t really care about…oh, did I mention that the Dodgers are getting paid $216.7MM but also happen to be in fourth place in the NL West? Baseball is nuts.
Getting back to the Cubs, they have now played 20 games and are 6-14, last in the NL Central. They will start a four-game weekend set against the Miami Marlins tomorrow night, and then a four-game set at home against the San Diego Padres. Looking back at those 20 games, and the current standings, the Cubs have played the Pirates, Braves, Giants, Brewers (twice), Rangers and Reds. All of these opponents are over .500 for the season so far. The Cubs have actually been in every game they’ve played in, and could conceivably have won a few of those, but them’s the breaks and it’s not like they’ve been playing against patsies. So I’m not panicking yet.
When do we start panicking? Well, take a look at those standings again. The only teams worse than the Cubs’ current .300 record are the Marlins (.238) and the Padres (.250), and those happen to be the next two opponents as mentioned above. The Marlins have had a slightly easier schedule than the Cubs, so even considering small sample size, they’ve been pretty putrid to put up an even worse record. The Padres, on the other hand, had a schedule from hell, playing the current NL West leader Colorado Rockies (!!!!) and the defending World Series champion Giants, as well as those pesky Brewers as we speak. Regardless, these teams are currently worse than the Cubs.
If the Cubs can’t win the series against the Marlins and then win the home set against the Padres (or at least split both), do we start panicking? Well, it’s still a small sample, so I’d say no. But it would certainly look VERY bad if the Cubs can’t win four or five out of these next eight games.