Yup, Winning is Still Good and Other Cubs Bullets

Last week I made the terrible mistake of having specific hopes for Justin Fields’ day, and it turned into one of the worst quarterback performances I’ve ever seen. So I won’t be making that mistake today. Whatever happens, happens. It’s not impossible to imagine that the Bears will leave today 3-1, and Bears fans will be absolutely miserable. In their case, at this stage of their process, with the quarterback position so disproportionately critical – in a league with no draft lottery – it’s hard to care THAT much about wins and losses as compared to how certain players are performing. Getting wins despite, for example, atrocious games from Fields is a nightmare outcome.

Contrast that with the Chicago Cubs’ current situation …

  • With just one more win, the Cubs will officially avoid 90 losses on the season, which is an accomplishment. It doesn’t make the season as a whole a good one, but it does speak to how well they’ve performed in the second half, how much they’ve kept the foot down, and how you could contextualize “what the team is” heading into the offseason.
  • I think reasonable minds can differ on the SCALE of how important it is for the Cubs to be winning right now, but I just can’t agree with anyone who says this level of winning by the Cubs is definitely bad. As I wrote, this much winning for the Cubs is more good than bad. The biggest, to me, is that when the Cubs finish this season with a STRONGLY winning record in the second half, reaching a win total no one saw coming back in June, and doing so mostly with players who WILL SERVE in useful roles next year, it’s going to buttress any plans the front office (and ownership) may have already had about spending aggressively this offseason. The last thing you would’ve wanted is another horrible spiral in the second half – with underperformances by key players – that would justify a timid offseason.
  • In other words, I don’t know that the front office (and ownership) would fundamentally change the approach to the offseason because of this hot second half, but I do wonder if they would’ve pulled back if things WEREN’T looking bright, with some forward momentum. I also wonder if the current wave of positivity could help at the margins of that one extra move at some point in the offseason. Nah, they aren’t going to sign or not sign Carlos Correa because of this winning, but going a little higher on an impact bullpen arm? Deciding to pull the trigger on a trade that brings in a slightly pricier contract than they might’ve otherwise preferred? On and on. Yes, I do think this level of winning – with these players – does matter at the margins. And, to me as a fan who wants to see the Cubs competitive in 2023, that’s a helluva lot more important than SLIGHTLY increasing the CHANCES of drafting 6th instead of drafting 11th in the first round next year.
  • Dang CBA cowards wouldn’t go to six Wild Cards in the NL because they KNEW the Cubs would come in hot. Gonna find out how to get the Cubs a special Commissioner’s exemption into the playoffs like he did for Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera in the All-Star Game.
  • Ian Happ with another perspective on why the winning is good, thinking about it as an individual player:
  • First, this is cool for Kyle Schwarber:
  • But this is just blowing my mind:
  • Schwarber has 44(!) homers but isn’t yet slugging over .500. That’s about as extreme as you can get. His overall slash line (.214/.318/.494/124 wRC+) and his WAR (2.2) are, I suppose, just not as impressive as you would hope/expect for a guy with 44 dongs. Not that you’d have any problem at all having that bat as your DH. He’ll probably be helped by the new shift-killing rules, too.
  • I chuckled:
  • I just think this is so nice, and it makes me smile:
  • This also makes me smile:
  • The Mets lost to the Braves again, and now they trail in the NL East. The samples here are tiny, and I don’t know that we can make the EXACT correlation he’s drawing, but I will never tire of being petty about the Mets’ disaster of a trade deadline, so insert-devil-grin:
  • Quote from Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo on the Braves beating the Mets in back-to-back deGrom and Scherzer starts: “It feels terrible. Those are our guys. Those are our best shots and they stuffed them in our face. It doesn’t feel good, no. Doesn’t feel good at all.”
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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