Can the Cubs Just Play Good Teams Every Game?
Losing sucks. Losing to bad teams really sucks. Losing to a bad division rival is a Dyson vacuum that is proven to never lose suction.
The Cubs still hold MLB’s best record, though it’s hard for anyone to feel good about dropping two of three to the Brew Crew. Truth be told, it would be nice if that’s all we were dealing with here. Overall, the Cubs hold a .682 winning percentage against lesser foes (although that’s technically every team at this point). But, Evan, that still equates to 110 wins on the season.
Sure, but Thursday’s defeat marked the Cubs’ fifth in the last eight games. It was also their seventh overall at the hands of sub-.500 teams and their fifth in the last seven games they’ve played against losing squads. That’s not good, man. We live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, and what’s been happening lately has cast a pall over the party.
It’s enough to have more than a couple people throwing out the word “slump,” though I think that’s a bit much. The Cubs had won eight straight, including sweeps of Washington and Pittsburgh, heading into this down stretch and still sit at a very robust 17 games over .500. What’s more, they boast a .750 winning percentage against teams with winning records and have won nine of 10 against such squads.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost be willing to say that this team is showing a tendency to play down to its opponents. But I do know better, right? Right? Well, maybe not. I mean, how many times have you seen a really good team or player tripped up by an inferior opponent? Sure, they will end up winning much more than they lose, it’s just that those losses stand out and they sting a little more.
There’s a tendency to look past weak teams and to maybe assume victory, which could cause the better team to coast a little bit. Facing a more worthy opponent forces you to keep your guard up and to remain sharp from the get-go, rather than relaxing in the assurance of scoring runs when the time is right. That’s why I’m looking forward to the Cubs’ upcoming stretch of games against the Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Phillies, all of whom are at or above .500 as of press time.
Is it weird to anyone else that the Phillies are seven games over? Good, it’s not just me.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that there’s no reason to freak out. The Cubs are still MLB’s best team. Simply put, there are times when baseball gon’ baseball and there’s just nothing you can do about it but ride things out. They’re winning at a .718 clip right now and even if that drops to .600 over the remainder of the season, we’re looking at a 102-win team. How you feeling about that slump now?
If you’re still down about the North Siders’ future, come on over and I’ll be happy to set you straight over a beer or three.