When last we saw our heroes, the Chicago Cubs had gotten pretty much shut down by a very dominant Max Scherzer. Fans cried in the streets and called for drastic changes as the Cubs were now only 24 games over .500 with a barely comfortable 8.5 game lead in the National League Central. The Cubs were also four wins short of their expected total based on run differential, suggesting that they were slacking and totally not going to the postseason anymore. It was a very dark time for Cubs fans.
As if to play to this death-and-pestilence attitude, we got articles similar to this one from the beat guys after Scherzer’s performance. What does it really mean for a team like the Cubs to lose to a $200MM+ pitcher who probably deserved to be paid as such, and who had recently tied Kerry Wood, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson for most strikeouts in a 9-inning game? Well…it means the Cubs lost a game. That’s about it.
Baseball is such a fickle game that we’ve started blaming bad luck on just about everything that is scored a hit or an error. You never know when a wind gust is going to knock a ball down to keep it in the park, or just keep pushing until it lands in the basket. You also can’t tell when a batted ball will hit a patch of bad grass or skip on a barely imperceptible pebble to turn what should have been a groundout into a base hit. And you never know when an elite pitcher like Max Scherzer will do what he did last night, or give up four homers in five innings like he did a month ago. So which game do you choose to evaluate how good this Cubs team really is?
The thing is, the article ended with a good point:
So what is the answer if a pitcher comes up with a performance like Scherzer did on Monday night? It’s simple: Hope it doesn’t happen three more times in a series.
This Cubs team has already won 43 games before June is halfway done. And it’s highly unlikely that even a guy like Max Scherzer can pitch four times in a postseason series to shut down the Cubs, especially since we know that one of two things have happened so far in their season series. It’s also highly unlikely that any team that matches up with the Cubs has four pitchers similar to a Scherzer. Even Clayton Kershaw will give up runs.
Take this loss for what it is…just a blip in a 162-game season where the Cubs have already banked 43 wins and are likely to get to the postseason, where the narratives reset depending on which version of Max Scherzer shows up. Everyone needs to chill out, we’ve got 100 games left, and about 69% of the time (nice), the Cubs have shown that they don’t care who’s on the mound.