Let’s be clear about one thing right off the top: David Ross has absolutely earned a fair bit of criticism for some of his decisions this season. That said, he’s by no means (fully) responsible for his team failing to score more than one run in either a blowout loss or a squeaker. There are some cases in which the winds of fortune blow one way or the other, making the manager look like a genius or a moron to those who place too much emphasis on his influence.
Sunday’s 2-1 defeat offers a prime example of that, as some folks are actually blaming either Ross or Adbert Alzolay for failing to make zero runs (at the time) stand up. Yes, the same Alzolay who had allowed zero earned runs in his last five appearances and just one in his last eight. While it’s clearly suboptimal to give up two scores, the offense has to be responsible for something.
Speaking of which, there are those who have the audacity to criticize Christopher Morel for hitting a home run that didn’t matter. I mean, it totally makes sense because most players choose when to hit homers and can do so at will when runners are on. It’s something that’s been said about numerous others before and it’s got to be one of the dumbest lines of thinking out there.
Had the Cubs managed to scratch out two runs earlier in the contest, Morel’s dinger would have proven to be a game-winner. This is a man who’s hit eight round-trippers over 48 plate appearances in just 11 games, folks, it’s just wild to look at that as anything other than amazing.
Getting back to the hypothetical situation of that home run breaking a tie, both Ross and Alzolay are off the hook. It’s funny how smart the manager looks when players execute. Of course, there are times when the lineup being rolled out there looks like a bullseye for even the most reasonable onlookers. Times like Sunday. Like, every Sunday.
The Cubs are 1-7 with five straight losses to close the week, and that feels like more than a fluke. We’ll see how the trend continues over the remainder of the season, but it does at least have more big-picture implications than an individual relief appearance or the timing of a home run.
The Sunday Scaries are definitely something I’m going to be watching as the season labors on, and I sincerely hope we can all laugh the idea off by the time July rolls around. Either way, I don’t think those of you crying for the Cubs to fire Ross will be satisfied. He’s under contract through next season and it’s hard to see the front office making a change mid-year barring a very drastic turn of events.