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.