Maybe it’s idiosyncratic, but I find it absolutely hilarious this morning that the Chicago Cubs now have their largest divisional lead in nearly a month.
That whopping 1.5-game lead traces back to the trip out to face the Astros, which also kinda feels like when the skid – or whatever we’re calling this up and down stretch – began. Since then, the Cubs have gone 10-12, and their division lead over that stretch has remained 1.5 games.
Obviously it’s reflective of the Brewers’ similar performance in that time, and also the Cardinals’ failure to make a significant run. But it’s also a bit about the stretch, itself, which saw the Cubs face …
- One of the best teams in the American League in their place (Astros)
- A rival in their place (Cardinals)
- The hottest team in baseball at the time (Rockies – Cubs won that series at Wrigley)
- A rival at home (Cardinals – Cubs swept that series)
- That same super hot team in their place (Rockies)
- The clear best team in the NL in their place for four games (Dodgers)
- Three stray games against the Angels and White Sox (Cubs won two of three)
Maybe the Cubs’ 10-12 record said more about the nature of those games than it said about the Cubs, themselves?
Obviously we’d love to look back on a stretch like that and say, “Despite all those headwinds, the Cubs STILL came out of it with a winning record!” And if a couple coin flip games go the other way, we do say that, and maybe we have an entirely different conversation this morning.
Sometimes you just have to survive the tough stretches, and then dominate the winnable stretches. Your divisional opponents will have tough stretches, too, and even a 10-12 record might be enough to maintain your lofty division lead.