The Chicago Cubs continued their erratic play on Saturday during a day-night doubleheader in Cincinnati against the last place Reds ballclub. This has become a concerning pattern for the 2018 Cubs team that has hovered just above .500 for most of the year so far. In one game, the Cubbies can look like World Series contenders and in the very next game, they look completely lost on the field. While the Cubs have a very young lineup, they are experienced and tested in important games. There is no earthly reason for a team with as much talent as the Cubs have, to be so inconsistent. Saturday’s doubleheader was the 2018 season in a nutshell.
The Cubs lost the first game of the twin bill in excruciating fashion. After battling back from three different deficits, Justin Wilson walked in the game winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning. However, this does not tell the whole story. The Cubs hit a paltry 1-14 with runners in scoring position during Game 1. They were given opportunity after opportunity and just could not take advantage. Also, Maddon churned through the bullpen with reckless abandon, leading to Wilson, with all his control problems, being forced to pitch the 11th. An error by usually sure-handed Addison Russell and Javier Baez letting emotions get the best of him capped off a very ugly game.
The second game of the doubleheader saw the Cubs do seemingly everything right. They pounded out 11 hits, scored 11 runs, played spotless defense, and combined on a 3 hit shutout. They looked nothing like the team that took the field earlier in the day. They resembled the team that most analysts believed would win another Division title.
While there is no doubt that baseball can be a roller coaster ride of a season, some consistency is necessary to excel. The Cubs haven’t found that consistency yet, but they have shown flashes of brilliance, and when they are able to get into a groove, the other teams in the National League Central should be very concerned.
Photo from NBCsports