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Chicago Cubs lose Interleague series with Kansas City Royals: Fan’s series review
"If you make a living managing against him every day, if your team isn't better than his team, you're not going to beat him."
This was part of Jim Riggleman's comment when defending Mike Quade and the Chicago Cubs early-season struggles. I suppose he wouldn't compliment the team that the Cubs are currently trotting out. The Cubs have lost eight of their last nine series after dropping two of three to the Kansas City Royals, 6-4, 2-3, and 3-6.
The Cubs have been getting players back during this losing skid but it hasn't helped much. The skid has included getting swept by the Houston Astros in Wrigley Field, losing two of three to their Crosstown Classic rivals, and losing two of three to the Kansas City Royals, who had lost 27 of their past 38 games entering this series.
The Cubs' sole victory wasn't pretty, but it was hopefully a learning experience for a team that's normally conservative on the bases. Starlin Castro(notes), Geovany Soto(notes), Alfonso Soriano(notes), and Aramis Ramirez(notes) all found themselves in base-running blunders or failed steal attempts during Friday's 6-4 victory.
The Cubs squandered a great opportunity to create momentum against a team that was struggling more than them. I certainly thought they'd at least win two games and had a good chance of positioning themselves for three consecutive victories. There's no reason that the NL's second-highest payroll is getting worked by the AL's worst team. I don't understand how the Cubs score five runs in the past two games against a team who is 28th or worse in ERA, opponent batting average, WHIP, and quality starts.
The worst part of this losing streak is that the Cubs organization acts like no problems exist. Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts always use the injury excuse for the Cubs 31-46 start. Ryan Dempster(notes) makes it sound like its just bad luck, as evidenced by his quote following Friday's victory:
"Wins and losses—I know it's frustrating sometimes because you want to pile them up. But if we keep playing the way we're playing, were going to win a lot of games and we're not going to know how to play any other way."
The Cubs must go 50-35 just to finish .500. That would be the equivalent of a 95-win team through 162 games. What qualifies as "A lot of games?" You keep playing like you're playing and you'll win 70 games… maybe.
The Cubs must accept that they have a problem. The San Francisco Giants are winning without Buster Posey(notes). The St. Louis Cardinals are winning without Albert Pujols(notes) and were winning without Matt Holliday(notes) and Lance Berkman(notes). The Milwaukee Brewers were winning without Zack Greinke(notes). The Philadelphia Phillies have survived numerous injuries and have the MLB's best record.
The Cubs should have depth to survive injuries to Marlon Byrd(notes), Andrew Cashner(notes), Darwin Barney(notes), and Kerry Wood(notes). A seventh-inning man, an aging outfielder with limited power, a fifth starter, and a second baseman who'd be a utility player on most teams wouldn't change much. This makes Hendry look even worse because he hasn't created serviceable depth for an already suspect roster.
The emergence of Starlin Castro is the only thing that Cubs fans can cling too this season. Castro is batting just under .330 and Mike Quade is allowing him to be more aggressive on the bases. The Cubs just need to get some consistency from the cleanup position. More importantly, they need a lot of pitching.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid 1990s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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