Did you enjoy your off-day? I hope the Cubs did, because it was their last for a very long time.
Thanks to the early-season rains, the Cubs now enter a stretch of games where they’ll play for 23 straight days. The stretch starts out innocently enough, with two games in Detroit against the rebuilding Tigers, then four games at home against the Votto-less Reds, and then three game at home against the rudderless Mets.
But then it gets really rough.
The Cubs go to Atlanta for a single make-up game, and then head straight out from there to Philadelphia for three against the Phillies. Then the Cubs head to Milwaukee for three against the Brewers. Then the Cubs go back east to Washington for four against the Nationals (hey, maybe you guys want to do some August selling right about now, eh?) – the Nationals, for all their disappointment, are still incredibly talented and may yet be fighting for a playoff spot by then. And then it’s back to Chicago for three more against the Brewers, who will themselves have just had an off-day a few days prior.
It’s not a great time for the Cubs to be playing their worst offensive ball of the year, and to be missing three key players. Hopefully they can turn things around quickly – talent will do that sometimes – and the pitching keeps going strong. If that happens, maybe the Cubs can take a disproportionate amount of these first nine games against the Tigers, Reds, and Mets.
Regardless, 23 games in 23 days is brutally difficult, especially late in the year. You *will* seem some guys ground down by the end of this stretch, and it really sucks that six of the final ten games come against the Brewers.
But that’s the way the schedule shook out, and if the Cubs want to lock down their third straight NL Central title, this is the stretch they’ll have to at least survive in order to make it happen.