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The Cubs have lost five of seven. History tells us: Don’t panic

There’s still lots of time left to turn this ship around.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

One year ago today, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins 6-1.

In doing so, they moved to a record of 80-62 and were solidly ensconced in the second wild-card spot. Had the season ended that day, they would have traveled to Atlanta for a three-game wild-card series against the Braves.

Why am I telling you this? Because after that day, the Phillies went on a skid that almost cost them a playoff spot. They lost five in a row, then won three, then lost five MORE in a row. The latter losing streak included being swept by the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In all, the Phillies went 7-13 over the last 20 games of their 2022 schedule and backed into the postseason. They lost their last two games to the Astros, making it to the playoffs only because the Brewers lost on the last day of the season.

And so instead of playing the Braves, the Phillies faced the Cardinals in a wild-card series, scored six runs in a wild ninth inning in the first game and then took the second by shutout. They ran that hot streak all the way to the World Series, where they ran out of gas against Houston.

Why am I telling you this?

Because, no doubt, you are somewhat discouraged about the Cubs’ play over their last two series, which they have lost to the Diamondbacks at home and the woeful Rockies on the road. It is true that the Cubs looked particularly bad in dropping the last two games in Colorado, with bad baserunning and sketchy fielding contributing to the defeats.

I will remind you that this has happened before, and recently. The Cubs went to New York and dropped two of three to a mediocre Mets team, lost a game to the awful White Sox at home and failed to sweep a Royals team that has now lost over 100 games.

And yet they recovered from that. After the loss to the Royals, the Cubs went 14-5 before the most recent losses.

Despite having trouble scoring runs recently — perhaps due to running themselves out of opportunities — the Cubs still rank third in the N.L. and seventh in MLB with 737 runs scored, a pace for 812 runs. I’ve noted this previously but will remind you again that this would put them among the top Cubs teams in runs scored over the last 85 years. They have a Cy Young candidate in Justin Steele and the rest of the pitching staff, including rookie Jordan Wicks, have held their own against good competition.

While Chase Field has generally been a house of horrors for the Cubs over its 25-year history, the Cubs have won series there in both 2021 and 2022. They can do the same this year, I believe, then the Cubs have home series against teams they should be able to beat. The Cubs are 9-1 against the Pirates this year and swept them at Wrigley Field and PNC Park in June. The Rockies have the worst road record in the National League (22-53) and are 8-20 away from Coors Field since the All-Star break, including being swept by the Rays and Giants.

Hang on, everyone. It could be a wild ride, but I still believe this Cubs team is a postseason team. Perhaps they’ll fall short of winning the N.L. Central, but a wild card team has represented the National League in the World Series in the last three full seasons (Nationals, 2019; Braves, 2021; Phillies, 2022).

Why not the Cubs?


Where will the Cubs finish 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    N.L. Central champions
    (44 votes)
  • 11%
    First wild card
    (75 votes)
  • 55%
    Second wild card
    (353 votes)
  • 14%
    Third wild card
    (91 votes)
  • 11%
    Miss the postseason
    (76 votes)
639 votes total Vote Now