Commentary: Bad luck Cubs still fighting
|Monday, June 6, 2022, 6:00 PM- -|
While the Cubs had a reasonably strong start to their season, after a 6-4 start through their first ten games, the Cubs lost 14 of their next 17 contests as April ended.
May had a bit of a different look for the Cubs. From May 9th to May 29th, the Cubs went 10-9 — but the brand of baseball they were playing looked much more like the winning brand they displayed very early in the season. Of those nine losses, six were by one run, so the Cubs ended up being a bit unlucky.
Then came the gauntlet, nine games in seven days against the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, the two playoff contenders in the National League Central Division. In that grueling stretch, the Cubs went 4-5. While that is not spectacular, four of the five losses came by either one or two runs or in extra innings.
Nine games in seven days, two days of doubleheaders, and three games going into extra innings — and the Cubs battled every game.
The Cubs have blown near the most saves in the MLB thus far in 2022, and 19 of the Cubs' 55 games this season have been one-run contests. The Cubs hold a 6-13 record in games decided by one run, which points to the Cubs not only being competitive — but also having some bad luck as this season wears on.
Not to mention, the Cubs have been dismantled with injuries. This season has already seen Adbert Alzolay, Codi Heuer, David Robertson, Wade Miley, Drew Smyly, Alec Mills, Ethan Roberts, Marcus Stroman, Rowan Wick, and Brad Wick missed time on the pitching side of things. Plus, the health of Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, Seiya Suzuki, Jason Heyward, Yan Gomes, David Bote, Andrelton Simmons, Clint Frazier, and Jonathan Villar has been suspect, forcing David Ross to mix and match lineups and matchups.
Of those players, Suzuki, Villar, Bote, Gomes, Weick, Mills, Heuer, and Alzolay are currently on the metaphorical shelf.
The one bright side from all of the struggles, close games, double headers, and injuries is the Cubs have been forced to dip their toes into the pool of replenished prospects — that have been strengthened mostly since last July.
Christopher Morel, Brandon Hughes, Matt Swarmer, and Caleb Killian have all come up to the pros and have been successful. Morel's energy has been contagious and may keep him in the big leagues — reaching base in his first 20 games. Matt Swarmer delivered two excellent spot starts over the last week, and Killian, the main prospect from last summer's Kris Bryant trade with San Francisco, struck out six in his debut against the Cardinals on Saturday.
While it is frustrating the Cubs have not been in the win column more, especially with the financial flexibility we know they have — there are some bright spots on the field for a team that is still fighting to be in all games despite their record.