Last time, when Ivy had time (no thanks to her coworker from Hell), we saw the Cubs win another series from the Philadelphia Phillies, so that was fun. This year, the NL East is pretty much just the Washington Nationals and New York Mets, and maybe the Miami Marlins if they actually try instead of lining Loria’s pockets. But I digress, you want some Cubs stuff to read on this off day before they come home, so here ya go.
Chicago Cubs @ Atlanta Braves
Fri 6/10 Cubs 1, Braves 5
Sat 6/11 Cubs 8, Braves 2
Sun 6/12 Cubs 13, Braves 2
In their final series ever at Atlanta’s Turner Field (since the Braves get a new stadium because reasons while the Cubs have to fight tooth and nail to do what they want to do with THEIR property, oy), Cubs Twitter almost burned to the ground when they dared lose to the worst team in the majors. I mean, holy crap are they bad. Anyway, if the current record against bad teams holds at 26-12, which is a .684 winning percentage, then the Cubs continue to be better at beating just the BAD teams than any MLB team’s overall record. It’s still slightly worse than their overall winning percentage of .688, so obviously they’re slacking and everyone should be fired.
Anyway, after that weird loss in which nobody played particularly badly (errors notwithstanding, but those will happen), the Cubs restored order by having a bit of fun on Saturday and then completely dominating on Sunday. And thus, the Cubs are now 3-2 versus the Braves this season with a rainout to make up, so at worst they’ll be .500 against the worst team in the majors. But as you know, bad teams can and will beat good teams, just not all the time, of course.
Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals
Mon 6/13 Cubs 1, Nationals 4
Tue 6/14 Cubs 4, Nationals 3
Wed 6/15 Cubs 4, Nationals 5 (F/12)
This one started off fun, as Max Scherzer tried to fire a 27-strikeout perfect game until Addison Russell killed the perfect game, the no-hitter, and the shutout with a solo blast. Again, Cubs Twitter lit itself on fire over this harbinger of doom, but really, folks forgot that the Cubs torched Scherzer at Wrigley Field. So depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-is-full-of-spiders-and-acid type of person, one of two things can happen when the Cubs face Scherzer, and it’s not like Scherzer can pitch more than 3 times in a series anyway, right? Today’s public service announcement: quit freaking out over one game, because it probably doesn’t mean much considering the Cubs have won over 40 of them.
The other thing fans flipped their lids about this weekend was the defense. Like OMG the ERRORZZZZ. The Cubs actually have one of the best defenses in the majors even if you’re hung up on stuff like errors and fielding percentage, and they are definitely the best at preventing balls in play from going for hits. In the second game, the Cubs prevented the Nationals from getting too many timely hits, as all three Washington runs were scored on sacrifice flies before Albert Almora could deliver another big hit (what are they gonna do with him when the boys get off the disabled list?) to secure the victory and set up the rubber match.
I was shopping with the family but did keep tabs on the rubber game, which was pretty wild. The Cubs got big hits to go ahead, and then somehow the Nationals kept clawing back. And it was weird, too, because just about every guy in the Cubs’ normally reliable bullpen (recency bias notwithstanding) took a dump and kept letting the Nationals tie the game, until Jayson Werth‘s walk-off hit in the bottom of the 12th. You don’t expect Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon to both crap out in the same game, but there it was, and thus the Cubs dropped the series. They always had a chance to win, though, and that’s what I’m looking for, especially in a game where Jason Hammel matched Stephen Strasburg pitch-for-pitch. The Cubs ended this road trip 5-4 (which is pretty good, anything above .500 is good) before coming home for a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you’re still disappointed, don’t be…
Maddon: “I’m really happy with our guys and if you’re a Cubs fan you should be proud of your ball club.”
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 16, 2016
And if you’re STILL mad, laugh a little with us.
You might ask why, lawd, why didn’t the Cubs just pitch Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester against the Nationals instead of the Braves? And yeah, it would be nice, except they’d have been doing it on short rest and then they wouldn’t have a chance to keep the Pirates reeling this weekend as they’re lined up to have Arrieta go twice in this homestand against both the Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals. Besides, it’s more fun to keep building a division lead than to try to sweep a non-division opponent. Additionally, the Cubs ended the season series 5-2 against the Nationals, so even if they were to match up, if you wanted to use a small sample to build a narrative for a short postseason series that hasn’t even happened yet, that means the Cubs would win a best-of-9 against Washington anyway. Also also:
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) June 16, 2016
44-20 means there are 98 games left. If #Cubs go…
.500 –> 93 Ws
.643 –> 107 Ws
Pace –> 111 Ws
But it's mid-June, so who knows.
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) June 16, 2016
I can build small-sample-size narratives too! By the way, Gerrit Cole is on the shelf, so the Cubs get to face another young phenom, so let’s do some pitching matchups…
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Chicago Cubs
Oh, did I mention the Cubs get cookies too?
Sources: #Cubs promoting catcher Willson Contreras, will join team tomorrow. Plan is to go with 3 catchers. No word on accompanying move.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 16, 2016