Yesterday was ugly, my friends.
By that, I mean the loss – the Cubs’ bats couldn’t do diddly plop in the situations they had a chance, and the bullpen took the day off – and I also mean the reactions I’ve been seeing. I didn’t expect to be playing the part of “OMG HOMER APOLOGIST” this early in the season, but I’ll give it a go …
The Cubs had an overall bad series against a team that they really don’t want to be losing three straight to. There are bullpen questions (as there have been four years running at this time of year, and somehow the Cubs have had an excellent bullpen by the middle of the season all four years), and the bats are not consistently hitting.
It all came to a head yesterday, and I truly don’t blame anyone for being pissed off. You care. Last year was great and started out insanely hot. You are uncomfortable with the start to this season, and a 6-6 record is not how you envisioned the 2017 Cubs.
But it’s 12 games.
That’s about 7.4% of the season.
It’s a stretch that, if it happened in June, you’d barely even notice.
It’s a record that, with just two wins, is suddenly a 93-win pace (which, incidentally, is the Cubs’ projected win total at FanGraphs even after the weekend, the second highest total in baseball).
Cubs takes are gonna be flyin' at you this morning. Keep your head on a swivel. pic.twitter.com/s1IUsKm0aw
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) April 17, 2017
It has become all too easy to forget the feelings and the discourse surrounding the Cubs’ brutal 5-15 stretch midsummer last year. Do you remember the takes? Do you remember just how extreme and silly they got? I remember the frustration of fighting the “they’re still really good, and even really good teams go through bad stretches” battle on a daily basis. Then the Cubs won it all, and broke out of the gate with a 6-6 record and it’s like the whole thing never happened.
To be sure, the fact that the 2016 team – a very good team! – went through a stretch where they lost a lot of games, and looked really bad in the process, does not prove anything about the 2017 team. It’s entirely possible that these past three games are a demonstration of this year’s Cubs team’s true talent level, and they’re in for a historically laughable season.
But the range of that possibility is somewhere between extremely unlikely and dating Kate Upton unlikely. This particular Cubs team playing like one of the worst in the league for the next five and a half months is too unlikely to really even consider.
So, then, where are we? Stick with what you know to be true:
(1) It’s so early in the season that it’s crazy to draw hard and fast conclusions about what we’ve seen so far in 2017; and
(2) This Cubs roster is talented, deep, and well-constructed, and projects to be among the best teams in baseball over the next 150 games.
And if that doesn’t do it for you today, then maybe you can take solace in the fact that the NL Central race might be a little more exciting for a little longer than expected. That’s … fun, right?
(OK, fine, Debbie Downer – just go watch Ian Happ sock another dinger and dream about the 2018 rebuild.)