All seemed well for the Chicago Cubs in late June. Beginning their four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 24, they appeared to be a top team in the NL. They had a record of 41-33 and were just 0.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
In the first game of the series, the Cubs managed to throw a combined no-hitter led by starting pitcher Zach Davies. Coming off an impressive win and now tied with the Brewers for first place, the Northsiders were playing great baseball. However, all that would come crashing down soon after.
Following their no-hitter on June 24, Chicago lost 11 straight games and saw their hopes in the NL Central disappear. Just 11 days later on July 6, the Cubs were 42-44 and found themselves 8.0 games behind the Brewers for first place.
As a result, the mood in the Cubs organization changed drastically. Chicago likely went from buyers at the trade deadline to sellers in just a matter of 11 days. Even the general manager of the team, Jed Hoyer, realized that things can change now.
“We were certainly fully on the buy side of this transaction, and everyone was calling about that,” Hoyer said. “Eleven days ago is not where we were mentally, and, obviously, 11 games certainly changes a lot of things.”
With the Cubs still 8.0 games behind the Brewers at the All-Star break, this brings into question, will the Northsiders decide to blow everything up and trade everyone? They have also lost 8 of 10 games and have let the Cincinnatti Reds bypass them in the standings.
Is this the end of the Cubs?
No, this is not necessarily the end of the Chicago Cubs. Although it is highly likely that they do decide to trade their best pieces including third baseman Kris Bryant, closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel, shortstop Javier Baez and even first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
On the positive side, there is still time to make up some ground before the trade deadline on July 30. Between now and July 29, the Cubs have 14 games to play. These games include six against the Arizona Diamondbacks, four against the St. Louis Cardinals and four against the Cincinnati Reds. The Diamondbacks have the league’s worst record with a 26-66 record while the Cardinals are under .500 with a 44-46 record. The Reds will probably be their hardest matchup before the deadline as the Northsiders are just 3-6 against them this season.
However, if the Chicago Cubs want any chance of keeping their core players together, they must go on a nice win streak after the break. On the other side, the Brewers have a middle of the pack schedule to begin the restart of the season. They play three against the Cincinnati Reds (48-42), two against the Kansas City Royals (36-53), three against the Chicago White Sox (54-35) and three against the Pittsburgh Pirates (34-56). Milwaukee will face one of the best teams in baseball in the Southsiders, which is great news for the Cubbies. However, five games against the Royals and Pirates isn’t as great news.
The Cubs will most likely need to play exceptional baseball if they want to keep their team together. They must also probably cut the lead in the NL Central in half from 8.0 to 4.0 by July 30. It’s a long season and there’s no reason why Chicago can’t get hot again after the All-Star Break.
Don’t forget this is the same team who has swept the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres throughout the season. If they can get off to a hot start and win seven or eight games in their first ten games, the Cubs might be real hesitant on trading away any players at the trade deadline.
Image Courtesy of Getty Images