Who can forget those halcyon days when the Chicago Cubs swept the New York Mets, and it looked like the ship was righted as the Cubs reached .500?
It’s hard to believe that was a mere 19 days ago.
Since then, the Cubs have hosted the Milwaukee Brewers before travelling to Atlanta and Cincinnati, losing 9 of 12 in the process and looking more comfortable in the basement than Wayne and Garth.
Let’s get to this:
Kris Bryant. I guess if there’s a bright side to his reminding everyone that when he’s healthy he’s one of the best hitters in baseball, it’s that he didn’t wait until putting on a new uniform to do so. So we know that when the Ricketts family continues to squeeze nickels until they bleed, letting one of the greatest players to ever wear a Cub uniform walk away will be of their own doing. There’s absolutely no guesswork involved, they know exactly what they’re letting get away. And this is “The Good”.
Adbert Alzolay. He’s been the Cubs’ best starting pitcher this season. So I guess the bright side is that the narrative switched from “The Cubs have never developed a starting pitcher!” to “Other than Alzolay, the Cubs have never developed a starting pitcher!” Granted, he’s still kind of like a turkey that you put into the oven, and that white thing pops up when it’s done – with Alzolay the white thing has popped up after the 5th inning. But he went 6 against the Braves and actually gave the Cubs a quality start – remember those? It’s still a little early to call him the real deal, but when you’re dealing with a last place club that has come by it honestly, you take what you can get.
Nico Hoerner. They sent him down to manipulate his service time, then injuries forced the team to bring him back up before they could get another year out of him. Now he’s slashing 389/500/556 while providing plus defense. I hope David Bote didn’t buy a scrapbook for all his clippings from his tenure as the Cubs starting second baseman.
I’m putting a placeholder here for Javy Baez. Since bottoming out when the Braves were in town at 191/255/404, he’s hit four home runs, raised his OPS over a hundred points, and has actually seen his lofty K rate drop. If you want to be analog about it, the eye test says that he’s not chasing low and outside these days. I wouldn’t say “Good” just yet, but he’s at least “better”.
(gestures wildly at everything else)
Poor Ian Happ. He has been scuffling ever since he took how own foul ball to his eye in early September of last year. The last two games he went a combined 4-for-9 and hit a home run, and you started thinking, “Hey, maybe he’s getting it together.” So naturally in the 8th inning of yesterday’s extra inning loss to the Reds he collided with Hoerner and faceplanted so hard that he got carted off.
I suppose as an added “Ugly” we can put into this the moment on Saturday where Amir Garrett took a break from sucking to strike Anthony Rizzo out before screaming at him and causing Javier Baez to flip his shit. But how ugly is it, really, when you get this image to use for all time?
This week doesn’t get any easier for the Cubs, as the Dodgers come in for three before the Pirates come in for the weekend. Truth be told, 3-3 would be a moral victory.