The Rundown: Sun Setting on 2019 Cubs, Time for Reflection Instead of Blame, Ross Sounds Managerial

It’s over. Dim the lights, lock up on your way out, and bang the drum slowly, because only a miracle of epic proportions can get the Cubs into the postseason. Then again, if you lose seven straight must-win games at the end of the season, you’re really not deserving of a playoff spot. At this point, one wonders if the Cubs will even win one more game before the 2019 regular season is officially in the books.

I mentioned over the weekend that watching the Cubs close out this season is like watching your dad drain the pool at the end of summer.

Maybe it’s better this way. There’s no point to continually clinging to the slightest thread of hope, is there? I mean, when your playoff probability consists of needing the Brewers to lose five straight while the beloved boys in blue win as many — and that’s just to get into a game 163 to determine the second Wild Card seed — well, you’re just asking for too much. May the ghost of Gene Mauch and his 1964 Phillies rest in peace. Just stop clinging.

As Cubs fans we are angry and disappointed, and so are the players. Blame has been spread throughout the organization from Tom Ricketts on down, and rightfully so. There is no way this shitshow is the work of one individual. The Cubs committed five errors in last night’s 9-2 loss to the Pirates and stranded 11 runners while going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. That type of sloppy play has been a regular occurrence this year.

I suppose it’s time to reflect instead of blame. We are possibly seeing the last of Joe Maddon, who’d leave with a pretty impressive Cubs’ resume even if this team doesn’t win another game. His record in Chicago sits at 469-336 (.582) as of this morning, and he brought the Cubs a championship in 2016. In 2015 and 2017 he got the team to the NLCS. Last year, the Cubs lost the Wild Card game to the Rockies in Chicago. Add all that up and you have the most successful manager in team history.

His message seems to have grown old and stale, or maybe the Cubs just need someone with a different perspective. But if change is imminent, and that seems to be the case, Maddon certainly deserves a standing ovation, or at least a parade, as he rides off into the sunsets of Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, or anywhere else he may land.

Cubs News & Notes

  • David Ross said that while it’s a huge honor to be mentioned as a managerial candidate, he believes the Cubs shouldn’t move on from Maddon. The tone of this article, and some of Grandpa Rossy’s comments, seems to suggest that he will be Maddon’s successor, though that’s pure speculation on my part.
  • Maddon suggested that team chemistry isn’t the strength of this team that it once was. I will actually agree with the beleaguered manager on this point, and that’s probably why Maddon struggles with more mature players. He thrives in an Animal House environment. When players get older, start having families and making more money, they are presented with different types of life choices. Before you get any ideas, it might be a little too late for a “nothing is over until we decide it is” speech.
  • Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald suggests Maddon should be relieved once the Cubs are officially eliminated. I disagree. Maddon probably wants to see the season through and he should get that opportunity.
  • Last night’s loss officially clinched a playoff spot for the Nationals, who started the season 19-31 and seemed doomed to miss the postseason as the calendar turned to June.
  • The Cubs’ implosion over the last week has been shocking, to say the least.
  • ESPN’s Jesse Rogers say the Cubs lost their identity while being swept by the Cardinals over the weekend.

How About That!

The Dodgers secured home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs after last night’s 6-3 win over the Padres.

The Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals 3-2 early this morning in what was the longest game ever played at Chase Field. Ildemaro Vargas tied the game in the 9th inning and won it in the 19th. The game lasted six hours and 53 minutes, while both teams combined for 48 strikeouts to tie with an MLB record.

B.J. Surhoff is unhappy with Orioles GM Mike Elias and he wants everyone to know it. Elias looks like he is overhauling the entire organization. I wonder if Brandon Hyde will keep his job after this season, especially considering a couple dugout altercations between coaches and players.

Mookie Betts, you are insane. How would you like to see this guy on the Cubs?

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Gerrit Cole – The guy makes double-digit strikeout games look routine. He’ll get paid this winter, no doubt. Last night Cole punched 14 tickets in the Astros’ 3-0 win over the Mariners, walking none. The free-agent-to-be has 316 punchouts on the season and has now won 15 straight decisions. That’s good.
  2. José Ramírez – The Cleveland third sacker had two home runs and seven RBI and should by all rights have the top spot here, but how do you deny Cole?
  3. Trey Mancini – The Orioles outfielder has been one of the few bright spots in Baltimore this season. Last night he went 5-for-5 with two doubles and is now slashing .293/.363/.537 on the season.

Extra Innings

Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta served a one-game from suspension for what MLB called “inappropriate conduct” during a replay review in Saturday’s game against St. Louis. Loretta put on a headset in an apparent attempt to eavesdrop during a replay review, something that MLB disallows. Joe Maddon thought it was funny. Maybe he’ll duke Loretta the fine and loss of pay tied to the suspension. The bench coach is allegedly a front-runner to succeed Papa Joe. Yikes.

They Said It

  • “Do I one day have an itch to manage? That’s definitely crossed my mind with all the rumors that fly around. And do I want to put my stamp on a team and the things I believe in? Of course. You see things, even as a casual fan, you start to want to kinda do things your way. It’s all about opportunity. I think when you have to give up and sacrifice family time, it’s gotta be worth it. I don’t do things halfway, I go all-in, so that’s a huge commitment from me. It’s definitely flattering to hear those rumors.”  – David Ross
  • “It obviously doesn’t feel good at all. Didn’t expect this to be happening. So yeah, I don’t really know what to say to it. We weren’t prepared for this at all. It’s just unfortunate that this group, we just couldn’t come together and get the job done.” Kyle Hendricks

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Something in the Air by Thunderclap Newman. The postseason is nearly here, several managers are on the hot seat, and next year MLB will implement several changes that will greatly impact the game. Baseball is going to look vastly different in 2020, especially here in Chicago.

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