Now that we are in the second half (sort of, since the All-Star Game hasn’t happened yet), the Chicago Cubs are 1-0 and on pace to run the table. They’ll enter the Monday off-day before the Fourth of July just two games back of the Milwaukee Brewers, and having achieved an even .500 record through 82 games. So what’s going to happen in the final 80 games? Well, I guess you could vote here, and then read on…
The Cubs were considerably worse in the first half than their winning 1-0 second half record shows. Part of that was due to uncharacteristically subpar performance, and part of that was due to injury. So this is why, before the All-Star Game rosters are revealed, I was okay with seeing Cubs players start losing their leads in the voting. Especially now that the All-Star Game no longer dictates who has home field advantage in the World Series, I agree with what Anno said last year in that I would prefer that the Cubs be left out of game action as much as possible.
Having won the World Series last year, Joe Maddon gets to manage the National League squad, and that means he gets to dictate who plays and who sits. However, that won’t be too easy. The Home Run Derby rosters still have not been finalized, with only hometown Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and Twins slugger Miguel Sano committed. It sounds like Anthony Rizzo, who is probably going to be a Cubs representative at the All-Star Game as voted by managers or players, will want to participate. Rizzo’s souvenir company co-president, Kris Bryant, is trying to hold off Nolan Arenado, but I’d much rather Arenado got the start anyway. Bryant, of course, avoided the disabled list with a mild ankle sprain, but I’d prefer he not test his limits in an exhibition game.
I suppose in a way, with the Cubs struggling in the first half, none of the starting pitchers seem to be on the radar to pitch in the exhibition. I guess managers and players might choose Wade Davis, who has been great, or Carl Edwards Jr to work as relievers. And then there’s the Final Vote, which could potentially put in some Cubs who weren’t voted in by fans, managers, or players initially.
I know that if any Cubs are chosen (and there has to be at least one), they will likely go, and they will also likely want to play. But I’m all for minimizing the number that go to Miami. The Cubs have a small East Coast road trip after the break, so I guess it doesn’t matter in terms of travel, but I wager that a few extra days at home relaxing without any baseball would do wonders for a team that needs to recover and mend. Either way, the All-Star Game should be fun, but ultimately I prefer to protect my own rooting interests.