A Chicago Cubs Blog
EST. 2007

Connect

Join The Bandwagon



Search

Receive notifications of new posts by email.

Bullpen Brian's Tweets

Now What, Cubs?

By bullpenbrian at 05.21.2012 5 comments.

Serious reality check for the Cubs this past weekend.

Being swept at home vs. the White Sox was about the worst thing that could happen to a team struggling to draw spectators.

The cross town series has always meant more to the fans than the players. But losing in such pathetic fashion won’t sit well with a fan base whose patience is already being stretched thin.

Cubs fans have fairly assumed there wouldn’t be much to root for in the standings this season, but winning the cross-town series was a reasonable goal. Winning two out of three would at least give Cubs fans something to hang their hats on in 2012.

Now the best we can hope for is a Cubs sweep on the South Side. But even then, that won’t erase the displeasure of the Sox taking all three games at Wrigley Field for the first time since 1999.

Kerry Wood’s retirement unquestionably reeved up the Cubs energy for Friday’s game, but that clearly didn’t carry over through the rest of the weekend.

No sane Cubs fan was expecting the North Siders to sweep the series, but the perceived lack of energy from the club was especially frustrating.

Granted Dale Sveum was losing players to injuries at a stunning pace, but even his rag-tag lineup failed to display the type of urgency to win a series so important to the fans.

On top of all that, the Cubs losing streak stretched to six games dropping the club 11-games below .500 (15-26). That’s good for the worst record in the National League, and second worst in the majors (Twins (14-27).

You’d like to think the Cubs have three very winnable series coming up against Houston (18-23) & Pittsburgh (19-22) on the road before a brief home series against San Diego (16-26).

But if the Cubs don’t make hay they’re in serious trouble heading in to the month of June.

The Cubs spend the better part of June on the road playing 16 away games vs. 11 home games, six of which come against Detroit & Boston. This also includes the three ‘away’ games at the Cell.

That’s no easy month, and fan interest in the team could severely wane if the Cubs slip further below .500 before the All Star break.

This means there’s a good chance the final two weeks in May will go a long ways towards shaping the rest of the season.

We still have the excitement of looking forward to the arrival of some of the Cubs better prospects in June, but many fans will hardly take notice, or care, if the Cubs sink to the worst record in all of baseball.

As if Sveum’s task wasn’t hard enough, now he’s left fitting the pieces together of a banged up club coming off a disastrous weekend.

How the the manager and his team responds will be very interesting, at least in the short-term.

Share
Tagged with:

5 Comments

  1. Hopefully, this Cubs team is just so young that they were easily intimidated. We can only hope they learned something, and maybe the result of a series at the The Cell will be different.

    …or they could be THAT bad.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      I don’t want to believe the Cubs are as bad as they looked this weekend. We know they’re not good, but the energy was just awful.

      Perhaps a portion of that can be attributed to youth. But Sveum and his club need the self awareness that some series are more important than others, especially in a rebuilding year. This was one of them: at home vs. the cross town rivals.

      Good teams understand this, and more to the fact, learn to play EVERY series with heightened awareness. If the the Cubs were paying extra attention to this series, they sure as heck didn’t play like it.

      And I fully agree the hope is for Sveum, his staff and his club to learn from an opportunity lost to win over the fans who are patiently waiting for a winner.

      Always appreciate the comments, George. Thanks for sharing. It’s always more fun that way!

  2. Spoda17 says:

    Brian, sometimes I think the Cubs brain trust loses the sight of the fans. I feel that sometimes they are so ingrained in the “process” that they are forgetting the fans. Is seems the calculated decisions are all about “learning” and player development and not really fan enjoyment.

    Hey, I am all about player development and Sveum and his staff gelling and learning the game and the team, but let’s not forget the fans. I am one of those that are okay with the off season decisions, and the… uh.. not-winning, but I agree that they still need to put an exciting product on the field. I actually think you can do that and still be in a rebuilding mode.

    I missed the game Saturday, but the game Sunday was lethargic. It just seemed they were at the plate going through the motions and not really focused and energetic. A lot of that is on the players, but it also falls on the coaching staff. I like the approach the staff has, and I think the effort is there, but the passion to play seems to come and go with this team. The beginning few weeks, no passion = losing… those few weeks in the middle, a lot of passion = winning… past few weeks no passion = losing.

    Maybe Charlie Sheen can also play catcher while he is on house arrest?

    • bullpenbrian says:

      I think we share the same frustrations. But I don’t believe the Cubs organization has lost sight of its fan base, even if it seems that way.

      Tom Ricketts has lived up to his word of making Wrigley Field more accommodating to the fans, and more importantly, he’s taking all the necessary steps to building a winning ball club–including eating millions of dollars to rid the club of guys like Big Z. And the later can’t be understated…there are plenty of owners who would not be so willing to flush big-money down the toilet.

      If it were up to the fans the Cubs would bank on Tony Campana as its everyday CF, bring Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson up before they’re ready and trade Carlos Marmol for a bag of used baseballs! We know that’s not the answers for a team with the NL’s worst record.

      Being ingrained in the process, however, is what will float this organization back to the top of the standings. The tough part is waiting it out. It’s going to be ugly at times, like this weekend, but I’m confidence our patience will pay off.

      While I do believe Sveum and his players understand the importance of playing hard despite a lack of talent…there’s something to be said for winning meaningful series for the fans such as the cross-town rivalry and series against the Cardinals. Beating them at home is even more important.

      You want to reward folks for coming out to the ballpark, especially the ones who show up when times are tough. That didn’t happen Saturday or Sunday, which was really disappointing.

      Charlie Sheen at catcher? Maybe. But the Cubs could use a fire-ball closer, too. Welcome back, Wild Thing!

Our Sponsors