It seemed like just a couple of days ago we lamenting the absence of baseball, jonesing for that next post-All-Star fix. The Cubs gave us a taste with the news that Kyle Schwarber would be coming back up to replace Miguel Montero, but only served to heighten the anticipation for the big score Friday night.
Ah, but there’s the irony, as the Cubs really haven’t done much in the way of scoring over the last month and a half or so. Over the last 45 games, the Cubs have scored 2 or fewer runs 23 times, including 14 of the last 20. For the sake of comparison, they had had only 11 such meager outputs in the season’s first 43 games.
But here’s the thing: while records are accumulated, baseball games aren’t played in aggregate. The Cubs didn’t head into Atlanta thinking, “Hey, we’ve got to maintain that +16 run differential from the first half!” But at the same time, you need to score more runs if you hope to increase the only stat that matters in the end, which is the number of W’s you have.
Because that number hasn’t been increasing with the rapidity many would prefer, there’s been a fair bit of grousing among the townsfolk, many of whom have been taking up arms against a see of troubles. Over the course of Friday evening, I think I saw pitchforks aimed at everyone from Pedro Strop to John Mallee. But now isn’t the time for scapegoats.
I wrote not too long ago about this team’s offensive struggles and how they are the root cause for all the frustration right now, but that’s a player thing and not a coach thing. Blaming Mallee, or any coach for that matter, would be like blaming a teacher who can’t quite break through with a classroom of kids who all have their own unique learning disabilities. Maybe the Cubs can find a way to get a Ritalin exemption for the starting lineup.
In all seriousness though, this is something they’re going to have to work through. But with a lineup anchored by Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler, you have to believe they eventually break out. I mean, there’s no way this baseball version of a boy band can continue to be out of sync for the remainder of the season. Someday they’ll understand, right?
Well, I think a couple of you know what John Fogerty sang about that, and those who don’t should go find out, posthaste. I know this will be very difficult for some of you, but I must once again advocate patience as you watch this Cubs team. They’ve got a great opportunity over the next few weeks to make a little noise, maybe even enough to drown out the cacophony of boo-birds flapping about across social media after losses.
If you wanted an easy team to follow, I’m sorry you were stuck with this one. But if I could ask one thing of those among you who feel the need to bemoan your burden at each opportunity: please don’t make it any harder for the rest of us than it already is. Cruising Twitter these days is like being strapped to a chair and being forced to listen to emo music being played at high volumes through bad speakers.
I’d avoid it if I could, but interaction is sort of a must with this whole blog thing. Enough of my own complaining though, and back to the team at hand. The Cubs are going to be just fine; it’s not as though they’ve entered a flat spin after being caught in the Cardinals’ jet wash. They are, however, operating in a danger zone as long as they continue with this trend of low scoring outputs. My prediction is that they bust out, and big, in the very near future. Who knows, they may even score some runs for Jon Lester tonight, which would be a welcome change.
I’ll close with a final plea to lay down the picket signs and turn off the alarm bells; there’s still plenty of season left before those will be necessary. Losing sucks, but getting bent out of shape about each individual loss sucks even more.