I know it’s too early for panic. Particularly since I was leading the charge last year. I was one of the few who was saying “why not this year?”. The Cubs got out to such a hot start this year, it’s pretty much been E-Z mode. It still might be. Then they get swept by the sub-par Cardinals, and drop a winnable game to the Marlins. June swoon, or should we be concerned?
Losing streaks are going to happen. Even to some bad teams. Part of the problem last night was that you had a catcher playing first. Don’t get me wrong, I am really digging what Wilson Contreras has done so far. He is way more athletic than he should be for a catcher. He has speed and looked great chasing down a foul ball. He also made a heck of a tag on a runner at first. That said, he missed a couple balls that Rizzo would have had.
My bigger problem was with Baez at third. I love Baez, I think he is wonderful at second and pretty solid at short. At third, he makes some flashy plays, but is not as solid as Kris Bryant. I know, I know. Bryan’s length and anticipation make up for Baez’ athleticism. Baez made a great play, knocking a ball down, then threw from his knees, and almost had the runner at first. The very next play he throws the ball away. Later in the game he is playing way off the line when a ball went by him for a double. Part of that might not be his fault.
Lester wasn’t great, but certainly good enough to get the job done. The Cubs had a great opportunity with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Russell lines weakly to 3rd, then Almora Jr. pops out to center. That was probably the best offensive situation of the night. I know Rizzo was out, and so is Fowler, but this team is too “feast or famine”.
The bullpen had another let down tonight as well. Strop was looking good, and was maybe victim of some shaky defense (placement?). A buddy of mine once said, “good teams find a way to win in the 8th, and bad ones find a way to lose in the 8th”. Cubs are in no way a bad team, but they have been playing like it lately.
The good thing is, there is still a long way to go in the season, and hopefully deep into the playoffs. Nights like these though, really expose the Cubs two major weaknesses: streaky hitting, and bullpen that probably needs more than 1 arm.