Hoping to help you feel better about the Cubs' recent skid, I looked at three previous teams in the divisional play era who either had great starts, won 108+ games, or both -- all of which the Cubs were on pace for until this week. I wanted to see if those teams had similar rough spots.
The 1984 Tigers started 35-5, the best such start in the divisional play era. Right after that they lost eight out of 12, and at the end of June they lost 10 of 15. In late July and early August they lost 11 of 17.
Result? 104 regular-season wins, and they won the World Series.
The 1986 Mets were 66-32, then lost four of six, and a week later had a six-game losing streak.
Result? 108 regular-season wins, and they won the World Series.
The 1998 Yankees lost six of eight in one stretch in August, then a couple of weeks later lost 10 of 16.
Result? 114 regular-season wins, and they won the World Series.
Now, a World Series win is still kind of random -- teams that have finished with the best record in their league have still lost it, or not even made it there. But this Cubs team will weather this storm and get back to winning -- they have too much talent not to.
Tonight would be a good start to that.
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Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist 2B, Heyward CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Montero C, Russell SS, Coghlan RF, Arrieta P
Cozart SS, Hamilton CF, Votto 1B, Bruce RF, Duvall LF, Suarez 3B, Peraza 2B, Barnhart C, Straily P
Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter last time he faced the Reds, April 21 in Cincinnati. Now, of course we can't expect another one, but overall current Reds are hitting .193 (16-for-83) against Jake with no home runs. I'm looking for Jake to get back on track tonight. Incidentally, the four runs that Clayton Kershaw allowed Sunday night mean that Jake goes back to the top of the major-league ERA list at 1.74 -- Kershaw's "jumped" to 1.79.
Dan Straily, who the Cubs swapped to the Astros (along with Luis Valbuena) for Dexter Fowler, has been surprisingly good for the Reds after they acquired him on a waiver claim. Since he entered the rotation, he has a 3.89 ERA in 13 starts, with just eight home runs allowed in 76⅓ innings. Walks are his issue: 33 walks in those innings, and he wasn't very good in his one start against the Cubs this year, April 23 at GABP. Addison Russell homered off him that day.
Today's game is on WGN. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.