The Chicago Cubs finished the first “half” (really a bit more, since the All-Star break is later than usual this year) with a 35-57 record, 22 games under .500.
That’s a .380 winning percentage. That would equate to a 62-100 record for the full season, which would be fourth-worst in franchise history, behind the 59-103 marks in 1962 and 1966 and the 61-101 final record in 2012.
Most of you are probably going to say, “Yep, they’re going to get there or worse,” but I’m here to tell you it’s not quite that simple.
First, despite the poor overall record, the Cubs have been in many games that they could have won with a bit better hitting or pitching. “Sure,” you’ll say, “That’s obvious. But they don’t have that better hitting or pitching.” Granted and stipulated. In the recent nine-game losing streak, the Cubs had a lead at one point or another in four of them, and in two others were tied entering the ninth inning (both games of Saturday’s doubleheader). The only game they weren’t competitive in at all was the 8-0 loss to the Mets last Thursday.
They have also played well against two division rivals, the Cardinals (4-4) and Brewers (7-6).
There are 70 games remaining. The Cubs will have to go 28-42 (.400) to avoid losing 100 games. That, I believe, is doable because quite a number of the games remaining are against teams nearly as bad, or worse, than the Cubs. They have six games left vs. the Nationals, five against the Pirates, three against the Rockies (at Wrigley; Colorado has the NL’s worst road record at 15-27) and 12 against the Reds. The Cubs are 4-3 against Cincinnati and you’d think they could at least split those six games. That’s a total of 26 games that could easily be split 13-13; that would mean the Cubs would only have to go 15-29 (.341) in the other 44 games to avoid losing 100.
I’m going to say the Cubs — even after the likely upcoming trades — can play .400 ball the rest of the year and avoid losing 100.
One thing they’re going to have to do to accomplish this is play better at Wrigley Field. Even really bad Cubs teams of the past did reasonably well at home. Those terrible 2012 Cubs were 38-43 at Wrigley. The 96-loss 2013 Cubs, though, set the franchise record for most losses at home with 50, and that’s what this year’s bunch is trying to avoid.
The Cubs are currently 18-32 at home. Only the Nationals (15-36) and A’s (11-31) have worse records in their home parks. To avoid breaking the franchise record for home losses, the Cubs would have to go 14-17 in their 31 remaining home games. I think they can do that, given the home schedule.
Since the Cubs threw that combined no-hitter in Los Angeles June 24, 2021, the team’s record is 64-115 (.358). While that’s bad, it’s not the worst 179-game span in franchise history. That mark belongs to the awful last couple of years of the Wrigley regime, where from May 4, 1980 through May 20, 1981 the team record was 58-119 (two tie games happened in that span, which is why there are only 177 decisions). Small consolation, I know.
So while things are bad now, they have been worse — and I don’t think they’ll be quite as bad for the rest of the season. Caveat: It is true that the Cubs roster will be worse once the trading deadline passes. Still, I think they’ll have enough to avoid breaking the franchise records noted here.
Perhaps you disagree. Let us know what you think.
Will the 2022 Cubs break the franchise record for losses (103) in a season?
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Will the 2022 Cubs break the franchise record for home losses (50) in a season?
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