The thought Anthony Rizzo’s short, compact-swing would keep him out of prolonged slumps has been true thus far. But the rookie entered the series finale at Colorado on Thursday hitless over his last three games (0-for-11)–marking the first time this season he’s gone more than two-games without a hit.
Prior to his mini-slump, however, Rizzo raised his batting average eight-points (.286-.294), increased his on-base percentage 14-points (.333 – .347) and improved his OPS from .786 to .818 during an 18-game stretch from Sept. 3rd through Sept. 22nd.
That run came to an end with an 0-for-4 outing against the Cardinals last Sunday and continued through the first two-games at Colorado.
Rizzo drew a walk in his first at-bat yesterday before laying wood to a solo home run to right field in the top of the third inning–breaking his mini-slump and ending an 0-for-7 skid on the road trip. He finished the day 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, 2 walks and 1 run scored. And just like that, Rizzo’s slump, if we even want to call it one, is oh-vah!
Here’s the really cool part though, Rizzo’s numbers with Chicago through his first 81-games (exactly half a full season) projects out to 29 HR, 24 doubles and 90 RBI. Not as if we needed further proof this kid’s a legit big leaguer with all the makings of a future star.
I’m not entirely sure how I over-estimated the Cubs, but I did as of August 28th saying the team would avoid a 100-loss season.
In fact, I went as far to say the Cubs might only lose 94-games. That prediction, of course, is out the window with Chicago sitting at (59-97) and poised to reach triple-digit losses by week’s end.
What the expletive was I thinking?
Two reasons for my prediction:
- 1.) The Cubs were playing fairly decent baseball at the time having gone (20-21) since the All Star break.
- 2.) Chicago, up to that point, had played remarkably well at home going (32-31).
But a (3-7) September homestand against the Pirates, Reds & Cardinals followed by the ugly three-game sweep at Colorado has wiped out the hope the Cubs will avoid 100-losses.
I’ll spare us further predictions, but here’s the skinny: the Cubs have six remaining games…(3) at Arizona and (3) at home vs. Houston…and need four more wins (63) to avoid the big 100.
Given the Cubs’ poor play as of late, particularly its starting pitching, I’d be shocked if they won the D-Backs series this weekend. And I also wouldn’t expect the Cubs to sweep the Astros series at home to close out the season, either.
That means we’re realistically looking at 2-3 more wins giving the Cubs either 101 or 102 losses.
Now, it hardly makes a difference whatever the final record turns out to be, but there is one last issue to address…that being the Cubs’ franchise-worst single-season record of 103-losses reached twice (1962-66).
One more win and the Cubs dodge matching the dubious record…but I won’t be surprised if one week from today we’re fuming over the Cubs going (0-11) to close out its season.
Unlikely, yes…but fool me twice, shame on me.