You’ve heard it before: you can’t win the division in April, but you can lose it. I’m not actually sure how true that is, because we’ve seen teams dig themselves enormous holes in April (see as recently as the Dodgers last year) and then turn out just fine, but I think the sentiment holds. The marathon of baseball means you can’t build a lead big enough to definitely hold off all comers by the end of April, but you can certainly put your team in a position where you might already be in the mode to make tough decisions come June and July.
To all of that end, the Cubs have gone 1-5 to start the season, have done so in peculiarly ugly fashion, and now have to head from Atlanta to Milwaukee to start a three-game series against the 6-1 Brewers in a place where they always play well. It’s so early in this season, but I don’t think anyone who sees this as a potential turning point is being over-the-top.
These kinds of things are always hard to see in advance, and really only work out as a narrative in hindsight, but it’s pretty easy to see us looking back in a month or two and saying that this Brewers series came at the perfect time for the Cubs … or it came at such a horrible time that it was the moment we all knew the year really was going to be a disaster.
I’m not even sure the actual performance of the Cubs (and Brewers) will matter so much – i.e., how they look – as just the results.
Broadly speaking, it feels like this is how it could play out in results and storyline:
Cubs sweep or win the series. Yes! This series was JUST what the Cubs needed to shake off a ridiculous first week, realize they really are good and competitive, and turn things around!
Cubs lose the series 2-1. Man, the Cubs really did not need to be facing the blistering hot Brewers in their place right now, and they are in serious trouble. They better get crazy hot immediately, or this is going south.
Cubs get swept. “It was the earliest nail in the coffin I’ve ever seen for a team that was supposed to be so good.”
So, yeah. It just feels like, almost no matter what happens (Brewers 2-1 is maybe the one exception), we’re going to leave this weekend saying this Brewers series came at the perfect time for the Cubs to turn things around … or it came at the absolute worst time and may have already crushed them.