Every year in this competitive window, Cubs fans play a game of self-flagellation throughout the summer.
“Well, this is the low point.”
“Oh, wait, no, THIS is rock bottom.”
“Wow, it actually got worse. OK, it can only go up from here.”[punching strangers]
“THIS HAS TO BE THE BOTTOM.”
“I cannot believe it is this bad. There is no way it could possibly get worse. I’m almost laughing.”
“Is this real?”[hugging strangers]
Eventually – well, hopefully – the worm turns and you look back, able to identify the low point. The Phillies series sweep at Wrigley with the Cole Hamels no-hitter in 2015. The blowout to the Pirates to cap off a stretch where the Cubs lost 14 of 20 in June and July in 2016. The blowout to the Pirates in the final game of the first half to ensure the Cubs would have a losing record at the All-Star break in 2017, and to fall 5.5 games back.
In each of those years, of course, there were plenty of times before those low points when we thought it had to be the bottom. (Special shouts to the back-to-back sweeps in L.A. and San Diego last year at the end of May. That, to me, felt a lot like I feel right now.)
Many weeks from now we’ll know if this Reds series sweep was *the* low point of the year for an otherwise competitive Cubs team. Swept by a last place team in four games, having led by multiple runs at least halfway through three of those games, and blowing a five-run lead in the final game … man, that sure feels like a low.
I mean, the Cubs gave up two pinch-hit homers, two grand slams, two bases-loaded walks, and two pitcher homers in the series for crying out loud! What else could a low point look like!?!?
Of course, when the Cubs got swept by the Cardinals last month, including two walk-offs, you may have thought that was gonna be the low point. So a few weeks from now, we may look back at this Reds sweep as only the beginning of what was to come.
You just can’t know when it’s happening.
It won’t stop us from playing the game, of course. Even in writing this very post, you can be assured that there’s a huge part of me thinking, “Yeah, this is definitely the low point, so I should say something grand about these moments.” I can feel the cords of the whip slapping into my back as I type.
And should the Cubs lose repeatedly in this series against the Dodgers, I’ll be back here again on Friday, mulling how it could possibly get lower. It’s what we do.
In the meantime, I’ll just hope that the bats get a little more consistent with the thump. That Kris Bryant’s shoulder feels a ton better. That Yu Darvish’s rehab start goes well today and he comes back throwing fire. That Brandon Morrow and Carl Edwards Jr. hurry back. That the Cubs win three of these games in L.A.