Boy oh boy, where to begin…
July (and the end of June, really) wasn’t the best for the Chicago Cubs, but everything was going to look poor relative to the extremely good start to the season. As August (and the trade deadline!) is Monday, the Cubs ended July with their first losing month all season. This happens to a lot of teams, even good ones that eventually end up going to the playoffs and/or winning the World Series championship.
What I do know is that the Cubs have accumulated the fourth most runs scored in MLB, while giving up the fewest. This stretch has been annoying, for sure, but since the All-Star Break, the Cubs have a 10-6 record, which…is better than .500, against a few teams that aren’t complete slouches. I really liked what I saw of Carl Edwards Jr., and Travis Wood had some fun in the field too after getting out of a jam:
— Zach Bernard (@ZachBernardFW) August 1, 2016
TRAVIS WOOD YOU SHIFTY CARNIE YOU pic.twitter.com/rJq06ORdUj
— Vice President Tim (@TimBaffoe) August 1, 2016
Naturally, you then wonder why the Cubs almost threw away a game with a Brian Matusz start. You do forget that Matusz wasn’t horrible before his injury, and wasn’t actually horrible in his rehab starts, but sometimes weird things happen. Sunday night was definitely not a good start no matter how you spin it, but the Cubs needed to do this for contract reasons:
Why start Matusz tonight? There were contractual obligations the #Cubs had to honor
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 31, 2016
There was so much weird crap happening Sunday night I’ll just let Ivy take care of it when she recaps the series. Suffice it to say that it was an enjoyable game.
It also allowed the Cubs to push back Kyle Hendricks and friends a day, and Joe Maddon has been pretty transparent about making sure his guys get the rest they need. While this is debatable (there are days off and the Cubs are mostly at home for most of the next couple weeks), with a large 7.5 game division lead and the best record in baseball, they can afford to toss a few games here and there. The Cubs are most likely going to lose around 20 more games this year, so get used to disappointment here and there. Of course, if you want to get rid of dead weight…
Theory: phantom injury for Matusz so stash on DL, Grimm back up as emergency injury replacement #Cubs
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) August 1, 2016
It is somewhat fortuitous that the Cubs built their large early-season record, and now are in a stretch where just about every top team is struggling if you check the standings. However, the Cubs seem to have been in every game they’ve lost, even if it looked like they would get blown out early on. The rotation is coming around, the bullpen is solid enough, and the hitters are working through their problems with some good results as well. With a lot of positive signs, we may be seeing better results moving forward. Let’s see what happens.