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Cub-tastrophe

Adam Shay

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Like a meteor wiped out the dinosaurs, pitching has demolished the Chicago Cubs. To make a comparison to their complete destruction, it seems as if the Cubs have stolen the playbook from the Chicago Bulls and have entered tank mode seven games in. This is the 100 year anniversary of the Chicago Black Sox Scandal and who knows, history is prone to repeat itself. 

The Cubs are off to a horrendous start to the season, dropping six straight after a promising opening day victory. Offensively, the Cubs are doing well and scoring plenty enough to win. The club ranks first in the National League for team batting average at .307, second in OBP (.394), and fourth in runs (46). After a rough 2018 campaign, All-Star catcher Willson Contreras is off to a wonderful start, clobbering a .389 average and an astronomical .833 slugging percentage.

Former MVP Kris Bryant also had a down year in 2018, and despite low production thus far, there have been seven games and he’s still finding his rhythm. For years, the Cubs have had great bench and utility players, and the trend continues as three players are hitting over .400. But really, Cubs and MLB fans know the hitting isn’t the problem.

There are numerous aspects of the game to create a winning season, but it ultimately comes down to the basics: hitting, pitching, and defense. It’s safe to say every single pitcher on the Cubs, except starter Jon Lester and relief pitcher Brad Bach, need eye examinations and to re-learn the basic fundamentals of pitching. It’s comical to look at the Cubs pitching staff and realize two out of the 13 pitchers who have logged an inning this year have an ERA of 3.00 or lower. The Cubs rank last in almost every statistical category: last in team ERA (7.85) and walks (46), and 14th in runs (59) and home runs allowed (16). 

A Cubs starter has yet to make it past the sixth inning, which is rough considering the bullpen is the weakest factor for the team. It’s as if the starters and relief pitchers are in cahoots to live up to their predicted 80 win season, except now the team will be lucky to hit 70 wins. Put this into perspective: the Cubs have seven pitchers with an ERA over 9.00. As their record shows, not even an explosive offense can overcome this meltdown. There have been numerous tweets suggesting Cubs manager Joe Maddon should be on the hot seat, but realistically, the players are not performing up to their standards. 

Now fielding, that’s another problem for the Cubs as they have 11 errors, including a six error game against the Braves. It’s very uncharacteristic of the Cubs to be sloppy in the field, but with pitching woes, their defense needs to be near perfect. 

Needless to say, it’s somewhat panic mode for the Cubs since pitching ultimately wins games. There is no sign of hope as the pitching continues to let down the offense and more importantly, Cubs fans.  Aside from needing a consistent relief pitcher, it’s all on the players to live up to their expensive contracts. It still seems unlikely they will finish with less than 80 wins, but at this rate, who knows.

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Adam Shay is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, During his four years at EIU, he wrote for the Daily Eastern News for two and a half years, covering multiple sports, news events, and writing feature stories. He was also on the rugby club team for two years, a member of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, and finished third in applying for his commencement speech. Currently, he runs a public relations system for a bar in Palatine, Illinois, and in his free time, he is always learning about music, sports history, and American history.

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