It’s been a month since this one, but the Chicago Cubs continue to ride the feast-or-famine roller coaster that Jeff Samardzija once alluded to. It’s a load of fun when the Cubs score runs in buckets; it’s not so fun when they can’t even plate one after almost getting no-hit. It’s this lack of consistency that really causes us extra frustration on top of the number of losses the Cubs have banked so far this season, many of which could very easily have been wins.
There’s only so much you can use the “youth” excuse, or the “that’s baseball” excuse, although I would have to say that there was a lot of stupid luck involved in the Wednesday night finale against the Cleveland Indians. There was also the decision by Joe Maddon and Javier Baez to bunt, which made me a bit angrier than usual given the context of the past few days. I think we can excuse guys pressing because they’re only human. Physical errors happen, and you can’t say the Cubs aren’t trying. But when decisions from the manager or from the players themselves are that blatantly *bad*, then we get into the realm of inexcusable.
I don’t really know what will happen next. My thinking is that the Cubs are a very talented team with MVP-caliber talent, and Cy Young-caliber pitching. They’ll figure it out, and the hole they’ve dug for themselves (yes, many of these losses are self-inflicted) isn’t so deep that we should panic. But I think it’s more than fair to be annoyed and tell them to go to their room without dinner or ice cream.
On the other hand, it’s very nice to see that the pitching continues to keep the Cubs in games that they should otherwise get blown out in, and that the defense can still be as good as we think it should be. It’s nice to see Kyle Schwarber keep throwing runners out, albeit from left field and not behind the plate (fun to have catchers everywhere, like shortstops), and to see Javy slap down magic tags. And after a horrid start to the season, somehow Ian Happ now has a respectable slash line, justifying the organization’s faith in him and supporting their decision not to send him on a sabbatical to Iowa. It would just be nice to see all cylinders firing, instead of just two or three at a time.
As the season progresses, I’m guessing it is more than likely to even out, but just like in life, to get to the reward, sometimes you just have to weather the bad and annoying parts on the way there. At least the Cubs have an off day to think about it and adjust so their fans don’t call for everyone to be fired or traded for much longer.