One of those random things I’d been meaning to point out at some point since the release of the 2019 schedule: the final month or so for the Cubs looks like it’s going to be brutal as hell.
Take a look at August and September 2019, and marvel at what MLB has planned for the Cubs …
Chicago Cubs Schedule, August 2019
Chicago Cubs Schedule, September 2019
Consider the following things:
- The Cubs are *scheduled* to play 32 games in the season’s final 34 days. Assuming there are NO rainouts that push games onto those open dates, the Cubs will get a whopping TWO off-days in the final 34 days of the season.
- The middle of that stretch features 18 SCHEDULED games in a row.
- And in the middle of that middle stretch, the Cubs randomly have to go all the way out to San Diego for a four-game set, and then come back across the country to host the Pirates for a weekend series the very next day.
- The Cubs get to finish this hellacious SCHEDULED stretch with six games on the road.
- Starting at August 23, I count one series – ONE! – against a team (the Mariners) that currently projects to be well below .500 and isn’t trying to improve this offseason. I count six series against teams that will almost certainly be better than .500, and another four series against teams that are trying. Here’s hoping the Pirates and Padres have stunk a big one in the first half, and sold off dramatically at the deadline.
Again, this is the *SCHEDULE.* This is not, like last year, the product of flukey early-season rainouts and ill-advised rescheduling plans. This is what MLB wants and expects the Cubs to do at the end of the long season. If they lose one or both of those off-days to rescheduled games? My lord, it’s gonna be 2018 all over again.
To that end, at least the Cubs just had that experience, and can see this crapball looming down the road. Hopefully they will be able to plan and prepare accordingly, being very aggressive in resting their key players early in the year, and (successfully?) turning over the bullpen frequently so that those guys aren’t carrying around rag doll arms by September.
Moreover, with rosters expanding to the 40-man in September, it figures to be as important as ever for the Cubs to have REALLY GOOD AAA arms ready to come up and supplement the bullpen at the end of the year. Not just guys to whom you can toss blowout innings, but young guys that you can actually rely on in tight games so that the key arms – the hoped-for-playoff guys – can actually get a breather.