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Cubbies On My Mind: R-E-L-A-X & Enjoy The Ride

The Cubbies are on his mind again! Chris O'Neil breaks down why Cubs fans should R-E-L-AlX and more in this week's "Cubbies on My Mind"

R-E-L-A-X

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a Cubs fan. You also likely have seen the stat that was discussed in great detail that the Cubs are the first team EVER to have five straight games where they scored exactly one run each game, with each run scoring via a solo home run.

It makes sense that something like that would be big news. Not only is it a unique thing, but it highlights the struggles of the team’s offense lately. Pair that with a hot St. Louis Cardinals team trying to catch the Cubs for the division lead, and you have a fan base that was ready to panic.

I’m here to tell you that things are not that bad. In fact, if not for this brief five-game slump, the big story would be on the Cubs pitching staff finally putting together a stretch of fantastic games.

With the exception of Tyler Chatwood‘s start on the 18th, the rotation has put up seven solid-to-fantastic outings:

Date Pitcher IP H ER BB K
8/16 Lester 6.0 5 0 0 8
8/17 Hamels 7.0 5 0 2 3
8/18 Chatwood 2.0 2 3 3 0
8/19 Quintana 5.0 4 1 2 4
8/21 Hendricks 7.0 10 2 1 3
8/22 Lester 5.2 7 1 1 3
8/23 Hamels 9.0 8 1 2 7
8/24 Mills 5.2 3 1 1 8

Even Alec Mills, making his first career MLB start, put up a good outing on Friday against the Reds.

With the offense returning to it’s normal output over the last three games, the performances of the starting rotation, along with the continued success of the bullpen, should be great news for those Cubs fans who were panicking just a few days ago.

Oh, and the Cubs are still the second best scoring team in the National League, so…relax, and…

Enjoy The Ride

As the 2018 season has gone on, I’ve noticed more and more Cubs fans are stressing over seemingly every game, every inning, and every pitch. They get mad over every decision, every loss, every missed opportunity. It seems like anything less than a World Series championship would be a horrible failure.

Obviously I’d love to see the Cubs win another World Series. I mean, one in 110 years just isn’t enough to satiate my hunger. However, the Cubs are in the midst of the best stretch of baseball that Cubs fans have ever experienced. There’s an argument to be made to just enjoy the ride and hope for the best.

As someone who spent a majority of his 30 years on this planet on the edge of his seat, living and dying on every pitch, allowing wins and losses to determine his mood for the day, I absolutely understand the temptation. Cubs fans are unique. They bleed Cubbie blue. When Cubbie occurrences happened in 1969, 1984, and 2003, Cubs fans knew what was happening before anyone else. There really isn’t any way I’ve found to explain the feeling of doom that popped up after the Bartman play, but we knew, somehow, that it was over. The Alex Gonzalez botched double-play that followed was more of a “yeah, I knew it…” than an “OH NO!”.

So, I’m honestly not entirely sure what caused my personal change to just enjoying the ride. Maybe it was finally getting that title or maybe it was outside life experiences, but I’ve enjoyed this season more than any. Even with the rollercoaster of ups and downs, the injuries, and struggles of some fan-favorites, I’ve enjoyed the season more than almost any I can remember.

All I know is, the Cubs have made it to at least the NLCS in each of the last three seasons. They have the best record in the NL this season. They have a majority of the core locked in for the next two seasons or more. The team is damn likable and gets contributions from seemingly everybody (save maybe Chatwood…).

I know losses aren’t fun, and you play to win the game (thanks, Herm), but before you give yourself an ulcer from stressing out over every little thing, step back and realize the team you are watching is in the middle of the best run of baseball the city of Chicago has ever seen. Enjoy it.

Stats of the Week

Team (minus Tyler Chatwood) ERA in August – 3.08 (6th best in MLB) – I’ll be honest, I’m just enjoying the Chatwood trolling at this point. That being said, the pitching staff has been doing their fair share of the hard work this month, more than contributing to the 13-8 record in August. Considering the offense and pitcher haven’t both been hot at the same time yet this year, I wouldn’t be shocked if the team went on a great stretch in September.

Team runs in August – 76 (4th worst in MLB) – That’s right, despite the offense’s struggles this month, they still are five games over .500. But that’s why they traded for Daniel Murphy, right? 18 runs in the three games since he arrived isn’t too shabby. Be ready for an offensive explosion from now on!

Follow Chris O’Neil on Twitter–Feature Photo Credit: Chicago Cubs 

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