Break up the Cubs! After capturing their first true series win of the season — one of their games in the opening series against Milwaukee was postponed — David Ross and crew boast playoff odds that are five times better than either of the two teams below them in the division. Of course, those odds also have the Cubs 25 times less likely than the Cardinals to make the postseason and 60.9 times less likely than the Brewers.
So, uh, thank God for small blessings or something.
The dark cloud to the silver lining created by winning two of three in San Diego is that the Cubs are a MASH unit right now. Nico Hoerner sprained his ankle in a collision with an umpire, both Seiya Suzuki and Patrick Wisdom have dealt with ankle injuries, and the pitching staff has been beset by any number of different maladies.
If the unexpectedly good play of the previous few days felt like a way to stave off Wild Jed’s Second Annual Going Out of Competitiveness Sale, a growing IL list could re-hasten the process. Unless, that is, the Cubs manage to catch fire for the next two weeks. That seems unlikely given Arizona’s emergence as a decent team with a very good pitching staff, but most didn’t believe beating the Padres twice in three days was a real possibility.
Even if the Cubs do manage to put together a prolonged stretch of competent play, they’ve dug a deep enough hole that even furiously digging up probably won’t help much. The NL Central is weak and only the Mets are above .500 in the East, but the West boasts five teams with more wins than losses. Though they’re just 5.5 games out of the Wild Card, gaining that much ground given their current roster is a big stretch.
That said, we could yet see some positive developments as the season wears on. If we operate under the assumption that just about everyone whose value outweighs his remaining contractual control will be traded, there will be significant opportunity for some future contributors to debut this summer. Not that I want to see Willson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, or Marcus Stroman traded, mind you, just that such moves are nigh inevitable at this point.
There’s also the notion that the spate of injuries has forced a requisite roster churn that may eventually result in the kind of attrition that forces the front office to promote from the minors. And by that I mean tabbing actual prospects for MLB duty rather than calling upon a veteran who will make one appearance before receiving his walking papers.
As sad and unfortunate as it is that we’re being forced to search through the rubble of ownership’s quest for profitability in order to find things to look forward to for the last [checks notes] five months of the season, it beats a sharp stick in the eye. And hey, tickets to see the Cubs at Wrigley will continue to be cheap as hell on the secondary market throughout the summer.