Almost. I did almost forget.
Despite being without Javy Baez since the start of the month, and despite the subsequent loss of Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs’ bats were a supernova, going off on the Pirates at a historic clip, and then opening this series against the Reds with more offensive power. Then, just as quickly, they were a black hole, collapsing in on themselves so completely that no offense could escape.
The metaphors abound with this team, and they never seem too overwrought.
That is to say, the Cubs this week reminded us again that there is “these are them!” with this team, other than to say that they will constantly vacillate between extremes so extreme that they defy any kind of harmonizing description. They are incredible. And also they suck. They have it all figured out. And also they are hopelessly lost. They have turned the corner. And also they cannot even see the corner.
The Cubs now host the Cardinals for four games at Wrigley Field, with at least three of them being appropriately classified as “must win.” Three games back of the Cardinals and still tied with the Brewers means the Cubs really can’t afford to lose even two of these games, not only to try to come back in the division, but also simply to keep pace with a hot Brewers club with a cake schedule the rest of the way. The division-race blessing of getting to face the Cardinals so much late in the year might turn into a Wild-Card-race curse.
I would say it would be wholly appropriate for the Cubs to sweep the Cardinals, only to then get swept by the Pirates thereafter, but that totally misses the point: there is no “wholly appropriate.” Even when we predict the madness, we fail, because the very essence of this year’s team is that it is not predictable in ways so far beyond the normal realm of “you can’t predict baseball.”
There is absolutely nothing that could happen in these final 10 games that would shock me. Or did I just fail again by affixing even that description to the team? This is what the 2019 Cubs have done to my brain.
Hopefully you didn’t forget this there-is-no-spoon reality, and thus you aren’t distraught this morning after the Cubs lost another series to the Reds, and did so at the most critically terrible time. Instead, my hope for you is that you can just “enjoy” these final 10 games with the kind of attitude you’d take into seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick: I don’t know what I’m about to see, but it’s probably going to be crazy as shit, often great, and frequently too uncomfortable to watch.