Six straight losses, no Rizzo or Castro, nine runs given up in a Jake Arrieta start … ugh. It’s time to downgrade the Cubs-O-Meter to “I need a donut and a hug.”
The meter had been looking up. The Cubs were playing great, and Jorge Soler had followed Javier Baez’s exciting debut with a historic run after his call-up. There was talk, by me and others, that the Cubs were giving the league a look at the dangerous team they would be as soon as next season. The enthusiasm crested after a sweep of the Brewers.
Then the beer ran out in the middle of the party, and the liquor store was closed. The Cubbies were swept by the Pirates and Blue Jays. We must have had a little too much of that beer because the reasons for the sudden collapse were right there in front of our noses all the time, but we weren’t really paying attention.
You can’t take Anthony Rizzo, the team’s most consistent hitter all season, and Starlin Castro, in the midst of an All-Star campaign, out of the lineup and expect to keep mowing down opponents. You also can’t expect Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada to continue to look like Clayton Kershaw every start. They haven’t been bad at all, but they haven’t been as dominant and could have used some help from the offense in recent starts. That’s an offense without two major pieces, so what do we expect?
So it’s not really fair to downgrade the Cubs-O-Meter. This is to be expected with a super young team just getting its first taste of the big leagues. In the long term it’s all good.
But it still feels like crap. Expectations were elevated and now they’re deflated back to reality. I know it’s just temporary, just a hangover from the short-lived September party. I’ll get over it, and maybe we’ll party again before the end of the year. The Cubs still have games left against the Cardinals and Brewers.
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