Thank goodness the Cubs got back to being the Cubs.
I have no idea what they were doing winning – a season-high five games in a row – but they had to stop that.
And on Sunday, mercifully, they did. They failed to hit in the clutch and they blew a lead late on a walk, hit-by-pitch, single, sacrifice fly and – ta-da! – wild pitch.
Baseball like it oughta be. Cubs baseball like it oughta be, anyway.
Except that it wasn’t last week. The Cubs took three from the Mets and two from the Marlins, who are joke, but were playing well when they came into Wrigley Field. All of a sudden, the Cubs are trying to complete a perfect homestand. How stupid is that?
The last time the Cubs swept a homestand of six or more games was in 2008. That Cubs team was trying to win 100 games. This one should be trying to lose that many. Wake up, people.
The Cubs tried to get back to their DNA during this homestand. They blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning Friday, for instance, but then they came back to win it on an Anthony Rizzo walkoff home. Stop it already.
I mean, the Cubs had won so much last week that they had lost the designation of the worst record in baseball. That won’t do. That’s not acceptable. They can’t attempt to improve without costing themselves the top draft pick next year.
Major League Baseball just completed its amateur draft. That’s what the Cubs live for. That’s Theo Epstein’s World Series. That will be the lifeblood of the threat that the Cubs will win something before the end of days.
But it can’t happen with this ill-fated winning. That goes for this season and next. Look, they were a joke last season, but not a big enough joke because they still had only the fourth pick in this year’s draft and missed out of the top three pitchers.
Here’s the rule, idiot Cubs: The more wins, the worse the draft spot. So, stop it. Stop it right now.
Look, there are only a few things that matter on the field this season:
--Rizzo. After last season’s misery, the first baseman has responded with 12 homers, 33 RBIs, an on-base percentage of .403, and an OPS of .894. After looking silly against left-handers last season, Rizzo is hitting them better than he’s hitting right-handers. He’s not a finished product, but this looks like the guy we first saw.
--Starlin Castro. He’s never going to walk and he’s going to strike out 130 times. Deal with it. He’s back to ripping the ball with a .434 slugging percentage and .745 OPS. Who knows whether Castro’s future is in Chicago, but he has to hit well enough in Chicago to raise his trade value.
--Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Specifically, their trade value. Samardzija’s 2.54 ERA is seventh-best in the National League; Hammel’s 2.53 is sixth-best. Samardzija’s 3.03 Fielder Independent Pitching is the best of his career; Hammel’s 2.89 FIP also is the best of his career. Samardzija’s 1.29 WHIP is the best of his career; Hammel’s 0.881 WHIP is the second-best in the majors. Samardzija is pushing 30; Hammel is past it. Someday, Epstein will be looking to acquire these kinds of pitchers in July. This is not that July. Check back in 2019.
--Maybe Travis Wood and Mike Olt. Wood’s ERA soared over 5.00, even worse than Edwin Jackson’s, but lefties always get more and longer looks. Olt’s nine homers are second to Rizzo; his 33 RBIs are third behind Rizzo and Castro. But his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are woeful.
The rest of the roster appears to be jock itch.
The Cubs were built to stink, and they were stinking exceptionally well this season.
Then came last week.
Don’t let it happen again.