It’s been awhile but the Cubs could be on their way to the postseason. The problem is, while they’ve played impressively well this years, so have several other teams in the National League, all having the same goal in mind to be playing baseball throughout October.
Heading into the last week of July, the Cubs (51-46) find themselves in third place in the incredibly tough NL Central Division, 11.5 games behind the MLB-best St. Louis Cardinals and 5.5 games behind the gritty Pittsburgh Pirates.
Perhaps even more impressively, Chicago is running neck-and-neck with the defending world champion San Francisco Giants (52-44) in the Wild Card race. And you might think the Cubs have the edge, given they’re in the midst of a stretch of 17 straight games against sub-.500 teams.
But the Cubs being the Cubs, they were just swept over the weekend by the team with the worst record in all of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies. And it came at home at Wrigley Field to make matters worse, even being no-hit by Phillies ace Cole Hamels in one of the contests on Saturday. With their next six games against Colorado and Milwaukee, the hope is they might be able to put a little separation between themselves and the surging Giants, who have certainly been applying the pressure as of late, having won nine of their last ten.
But for the season, the Cubs are just 28-28 against sub-.500 teams. Thus, they’re really going to need to make a statement in their next series against the Rockies, which also comes at home. Fans acquiring their Wrigley Field tickets in hopes that their team can get back on the winning track can also take advantage of great deals on Chicago parking at ParkWhiz.com. In fact, they have Wrigley Field parking spots available for as low as $10 around the stadium.
All-Stars Kris Bryant (.257, 13 HR, 55 RBIs) and Anthony Rizzo (.287, 15 HR, 51 RBIs) have certainly done their job, and the pitching staff’s 3.32 ERA as a team has kept them in most games. Now it’s just time for Chicago to find a way to excel at all the little things that can make up the difference between wins and losses — especially against the teams they are supposed to beat up on.
“They’re still big leaguers,” hurler Jon Lester said after the Cubs dropped the opener of a six-game homestand at Wrigley Field to the Phillies, 5-3, on July 24. “They’re still the best players on the planet and they’re there for a reason. They haven’t quit.”
Maybe so but if the Cubs want to get into the playoffs, they’re going to have to beat those clubs on a consistent basis.