Javier Báez executed one of his patented smooth slides Sunday in a win over the Dodgers, conjuring memories of what once was. The Cubs, meanwhile, are merely sliding as they dropped all three of their games against the Royals over the weekend. The sweep made it 13 straight games the Cubs have lost at Wrigley Field, the first time that’s happened in franchise history.
Their last win at home came on Javy’s big pinch-hit single against Amir Garrett, after which he celebrated by sweeping out the trash on his way to first base. That’s fitting since the Cubs have played like trash while losing the next three games to Cincy prior to being swept by the White Sox, Brewers, and Royals in the Friendly Confines.
Remember that time Javy Baez hobbled up to the plate (with a hurt foot) like he was walking out of the WWE tunnel towards the ring, chirping at Amir Garrett every step of the way, and then just walked it off on one pitch like an absolute boss?
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) August 16, 2021
The Cubs have been outscored 33-99 over the course of this historic run of futility, though they’ve managed to go 4-8 on the road with a series win against Garrett’s Reds in Cincinnati during that same time. What’s more, they were only outscored by a margin of 57-83 over those 12 games.
This garbage season can really be chalked up to two huge moments that preceded prolonged periods of ineptitude. The walk-off win above was the second of those and I’m betting you all know the first. It was, of course, the combined no-hitter against the Dodgers in LA that gave way to the first of two double-digit losing streaks.
Even with the Yu Darvish/Victor Caratini trade in full view, that no-no had just about everyone believing there was a chance the Cubs could really do something big this season. I suppose that’s still the case, just in a totally opposite direction. The Cubs were tied with the Brewers for first in the NL Central when Ryan Tepera was telling Craig Kimbrel what they’d just done, now they are 22.5 back of Milwaukee.
All three relievers and the top four hitters in the lineup from that Dodgers game have been traded away, though most of them were around for the first three losses in the ongoing home skid. While the Cubs were far from perfect with all those players, their mass exodus has been having virtually no margin for error. With a 12-39 (.235) record since the no-no and a 4-18 (.182) mark since the deadline, the Cubs have slid all the way to the sixth pick in the draft.
The only reason they aren’t picking higher is that the Marlins haven’t won a game since sweeping the Cubs in Miami. Getting to the fifth spot is still possible, but the raging dumpster fires that comprise the four worst teams in MLB aren’t ceding their spots any time soon. The Orioles are on an express train to No. 1 with an 18-game losing streak, while the Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Pirates were much worse than the Cubs early on.
All the stats aside, it’s just so odd to believe the Cubs actually authored such great moments in what is trending toward being one of the worst seasons in club history. With just 36 games to go, they need to go 8-28 (.222) to avoid losing 100 games for the fourth time ever. And remember, we’re talking about a team that was 42-33 (.560) following the no-hitter.
If they maintain the same post-deadline winning percentage, they’ll finish with 60 or 61 wins and as many as 102 losses. I just can’t square that with the joy and confidence the team was playing with earlier in the season, so maybe this is all an example of the Mandela Effect and we’re collectively imagining that the Cubs were good recently.
They’d better get good again before too long, because attendance looks like it’s approaching 2020 levels as more and more people find better ways to spend their time and money. I don’t care how many propaganda films ownership puts together about their stewardship of Wrigley Field, having a team that can’t win a game at home means losing fans and money by the wheelbarrow.