I’ve been waiting a while...over a month…to trash my team and I finally have a chance. To start, I’ll be nice. The Cubs went 15-14 (or something like that…one game over 0.500 at least) for the month of July. This was the first winning month for the Cubs since wait for it…last July. Last July the Cubs went on a tear. We were even joking that at that pace they could possibly reach the playoffs. Then the trade deadline came and went and the Cubs won a whole 8 games in August and went on to lose 100+ games, insert eye roll. Well, what do you know; the Cubs had a decent July again which is why I couldn’t put on my Cubs-hating hat. A week ago, they split a four game series at Arizona (a much better team than the north siders) and then went up to San Francisco and swept the Giants and became only the second team all year to hand the Giants a loss after the Giants were leading into the ninth. Then the Cubbies came back to Wrigley and dropped 3 of 4 to the Boo Crew (Brewers) mainly thanks to the bullpen. OK, all thanks to the bullpen. In game one on Monday the Cubs and Brewers took goose eggs (it was scoreless) into the ninth. Then the Cubs relief staff coughed up 5 runs. That’s right, 5. Then in the first game of the double header on Tuesday, the Cubs watched as James Russell coughed up a 5-2 lead with one swing of the bat and then served up the lead in the seventh. In the night cap, Kevin Gregg sank the team (and his trade chances) when he served up two runs in the top of the ninth en route to a 3-2 defeat. Rumors earlier in the day hinted that the Rockies were interested in Gregg, nothing came of it. That is how the bullpen managed to lose three games to the worst team in the NL central. Well, it’s not like the Cubs are much better. Now it’s August again and last night the bullpen couldn’t get it done as the red-hot Dodgers ousted the Cubs at Wrigley 6-4. Currently, the Cubs are losing 6-2, with two runs in off the bullpen. Hooray relief staff! Good news is the Cubs have spent the last 2+ years, well really since Theo Epstein took over, restocking the farm system with pitchers.
While the bullpen hasn’t helped the Cubs much at all this year, it’s not only their fault. Run production has also been terrible. It’s not that they haven’t been hitting a bunch, they just haven’t been hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP). The Cubs rank 27th (out of 30) in batting average and 26th in on base percentage. I couldn’t find RISP stats but with basement BA and OBP numbers, the team RISP isn’t expected to be good and trust me it really isn’t. For example, in the Brewers series, the Cubs went 9-35 with RISP. In the Giants series that the Cubs swept, they went 1-14. Currently in this Dodgers series they are 3-12. Currently, the game is in the bottom of the 7th and the Cubs are out hitting the Dodgers 13-9 but losing 6-2. Thankfully, the Cubs haven’t just been stocking the farm system with hitters as well. Hold on…make that 3-14 with RISP. It’s going to be a long road back for the Cubs but if the Pirates can do it, so can the Cubs and I have faith in Theo and Jed Hoyer especially after what they did in Boston. Hey, at least the Cubs swept the White Sox in the season series this year!
Speaking of the farm system, the Cubs have spent a ton on international prospects this year. While that’s great especially since we landed some of the top prospects out there, we also spent more than our allotted international pool money and will likely incur some large penalties from MLB. I don’t fully understand all of this and so look for more on this next week. Holy cow, reliever Blake Parker just struck out the Dodger side (Punto, Adrian Gonzalez, and Puig).
In the end I am a Cubs fan; that will never change. Even though I bash them when I can, I’m sticking with them. No matter how many games they lose and how many years they go without playing in or winning the World Series, I’m in it for the long run. Alright, that’ll do it for me. Have a great weekend everyone! Don’t forget to check out all of the posts next week.