Not Even 12-Game Skid Adequately Defines Cubs’ Poor Play

My great-uncle operated an M18 Hellcat tank destroyer in World War II and not even he would be able to pop the lead balloon that is the 2021 Chicago Cubs. That’s a cute way of saying the Cubs are in serious tank mode right now, though it’s also a bit inaccurate because this team was playing poorly well before they turned into the Dirty Dozen.

Even if you remove their current 12-game skid and also the 11-gamer that immediately followed their combined no-hitter against the Dodgers, the Cubs would be 52-46 on the season. That’s a mere .530 winning percentage, which would still leave them third in the NL Central behind the Brewers (.605) and Reds (.542). The Cubs would, however, still be pacing the N Least by the slimmest of margins over the Braves (.529).

It’s just amazing to think that after an incredibly fun game in Los Angeles back on June 24, the Cubs sat tied with the Brewers atop the division at 42-33 (.560) and had the finish line of a very difficult month in sight. But just like a marathoner who didn’t properly carb-load, they bonked and fell into that aforementioned losing streak that stretched across the final week of June and the first of July.

They finished the first half 2-2 after finally pulling out of that nosedive and then won their first two games after the All-Star break to stave off the worst of fans’ fears. Then they proceeded to go 4-8 into the trade deadline, after which the selloff ensured they would never again build any sort of momentum. This after their .582 winning percentage on June 2 was good for a 94-win pace, buoyed by a 19-8 May that had everyone thinking they’d be buyers.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, just driving home the notion that this team wasn’t very good even before it was decimated. Now it’s just downright awful, though at least there’s a sort of joy in that resignation. They’re not supposed to win and many of their current players wouldn’t have gotten a shot were it not for these circumstances, so maybe you can take heart in cheering for the underdogs even when you know it’s a little contrived.

It’s kind of like watching a schlocky grindhouse flick that you enjoy in spite of its flaws, or actually because of them. Keep in mind I’m not saying you should be supporting the kind of organizational culture that has led to this, since I certainly don’t agree with the decisions that put the Cubs in this spot. Nor do I agree with ownership patting itself on the back, especially when the timing is so poor.

Not that it really matters much at this point. With the Cubs’ pursuit of a better draft spot standing as the lone remaining target this year, I’m just looking forward to the NFL season so I can spend the next few months complaining about Matt Nagy’s play-calling and clock management.

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