Panic time at Wrigley Field?
Not but maybe, however the Chicago Cubs’ struggles in September have followers on edge through the remaining regular-seasonseries of the season at Wrigley Field.
A 6-0 victory towards the lowly Colorado Rockies on Friday was precisely what the Cubs wanted to pacify a crowd of 32,150, but it surely might be a brief reprieve except they sweep the collection.
Marcus Stroman was named the shock starter for Saturday’s recreation, although supervisor David Ross ended his interview session with out permitting any questions on his choice.
Ross famous after Thursday’s loss to Pittsburgh that the Pirates weren’t a crew of “our caliber.” If that’s the case, neither are the 97-loss Rockies, who despatched Noah Davis, a pitcher with a 9.58 ERA, towards the Cubs on Friday.
Seiya Suzuki’s two-run homer within the fourth and a mixed shutout by Jameson Taillon and two relievers helped the Cubs finish a two-game skid and transfer a half-game forward of the Miami Marlins for the No. 3 wild-card spot, pending the end result of the Marlins’ recreation Friday evening towards the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs have been anticipated to beat the Pirates and Rockies in September however misplaced 4 of their earlier six video games to the 2 bottom-feeders over the past week and a half.
Every recreation is large any further.
“It hasn’t been really going our way this last stretch,” Suzuki stated Friday by means of his interpreter. “I can see that everybody is grinding and attempting to get the ‘W.’ All these video games are actually significant.
“If we focus too much on winning or losing, the results wouldn’t go our way. Just focus on every game, and if it doesn’t go our way, try to reset ourselves and focus on the next game. In that sense, results will follow.”
Ross most well-liked to have a look at the Cubs’ poor play over the past two weeks in a special mild, pointing to the actual fact they have been nonetheless in a race.
“Expectations are one thing, but they’ve all felt big,” Ross stated Friday morning. “They felt huge in Arizona, proper? The Pirates, we have to beat these groups and we didn’t. We begin dwindling down (in video games) and also you’re in a race and there’s a bunch of groups round you. That’s the thrilling half.
“This is a chance we’d all join in spring coaching, proper? We’ve acquired 9 video games left and we’re within the hunt for the playoffs. We’re proper there. We’d all join that.
“This is a really positive moment. It feels maybe a little bit negative to everybody because of how we’ve gone about the last 10-15 days, but we’re still in position to have a chance to get in the playoffs. This is a good thing. We’re in a good spot to make the playoffs. We’ve just got to do it.”
Despite the win, the Cubs have misplaced 10 of 14 video games since sweeping the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 6, a plunge that has seen them fall from 1 1/2 video games behind the division-leading Brewers to 7 1/2 video games again earlier than Friday evening. The Brewers ought to clinch this weekend.
That would imply the Cubs’ solely likelihood to get into the postseason is by way of the wild card — and with a season-ending six-game journey to Atlanta and Milwaukee, the chances aren’t of their favor.
Giving Stroman a begin Saturday exhibits the urgency of the ultimate week. He pitched back-to-back video games in aid in Arizona final week in his return from a proper rib cartilage fracture and final began a recreation July 31 towards the Cincinnati Reds.
“I know I’m an elite starter in the league, but where we’re at right now, I know I can be a weapon out of the bullpen,” Stroman advised reporters Wednesday.
Now he’ll be pitching on six days of relaxation, although he figures to be an opener engaged on a restricted pitch depend.
“I’m not scared of anything,” he stated of being utilized in completely different roles.
Stroman was unavailable Friday after Ross’s announcement.
The return of Stroman may give the Cubs a much-needed enhance, assuming he pitches like he did for a lot of the first half, when he dominated opposing hitters.
“We can’t forget he was one of the best starters in baseball the first three months,” Taillon stated. “Any version we get back of him is going to be great.”
Stroman had a 9.00 ERA in his final seven begins.
Which model of the Cubs we’ll get down the stretch is a query no on can reply. The bullpen that mixed for a 3.57 ERA in July and a 3.94 ERA in August got here into Friday with a 4.83 ERA in September, permitting 1.49 dwelling runs per 9 innings for the month. Defensive lapses and an absence of clutch hitting additionally led to the skid.
But all’s effectively, in keeping with the Marquee Sports Network, whose postgame present Thursday targeted on a nasty name on Suzuki’s strikeout within the ninth inning as a substitute of the fielding errors and poor aid pitching that led to the 8-6 loss to the Pirates.
It’s good to personal the crew and TV community offering the narrative for a crew that’s seemingly in a free-fall. While NBC Sports Chicago continues to deal out harsh criticism of the White Sox on its pre- and postgame exhibits, Marquee pretends all the pieces is okay with the Cubs.
That was one of many worries when the Cubs determined to start out the community. Would the protection be goal or simply pro-Cub? It’s simple to cowl a crew when issues are going effectively. But it’s instances like these when Marquee can present it actually understands what Cubs followers are going by means of.
Cubs followers have seen these sorts of September swoons earlier than, most lately in 2019.
They can deal with the reality.
The Cubs could make it a moot level by happening a sizzling streak and moving into the postseason. If they don’t, there’s no method to sugarcoat a crew collapse, even for Marquee.