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Recent MLB history lends a sense of optimism to Cubs season

1 year agoTony Andracki

Friday marked the Cubs’ 56th game of the season and after a tough month of May (10-18 record), they carried a losing record through the first third of the season (even after a win Friday night in San Diego).

But the Cubs’ 25-31 record isn’t a bad thing. In fact, if a recent trend continues, it’s actually a good thing.

The last four National League teams that went to the World Series all had losing records in the first 56 games in full seasons (not including 2020):

Nl Pennant Winners

Both the 2019 Nationals and 2021 Braves wound up winning the World Series.

That lends potential optimism that the Cubs can turn their season around and put together a playoff run like their NL counterparts.

Jed Hoyer’s front office was busy over the winter, adding talent all over the field and a bunch of veterans who carry a winning pedigree. The big addition on the offensive side (Dansby Swanson) homered Friday night while the top pitching signing (Jameson Taillon) had his best outing of the season against a Padres offense that had been performing well of late.

The Cubs got out to a hot start, flashing a 14-10 record after a series victory over the Padres at Wrigley Field in late-April. But a sweep at the hands of the Marlins to end the month coupled with a tough May put the Cubs in a tie for last place entering June.

On the recent homestand, the Cubs were swept by the rebuilding Reds but they did finish off the week with a series win over baseball’s best team (Tampa Bay Rays).
The Cubs had struggled in close games earlier in the season but wound up pulling off back-to-back 1-run wins over the Rays thanks to some stellar pitching and defense.

“To win games, we’re gonna have to pitch, play defense, get some clutch hitting — which we haven’t had,” David Ross said. “I think that’s indicative of our record. If we pitch and play defense on a nightly basis, run the bases well, I think these are the kinds of wins we should be able to start piling on hopefully.”

Kyle Hendricks — who returned to the rotation last week after missing nearly a year with a shoulder injury — didn’t shy away from talking about his team’s chances at the playoffs this season.

“We got the core, we got the pitching. We got it all,” Hendricks said after his start Tuesday. “It’s just taking it one day at a time, one pitch at a time. The better we can do that, we’ll be right where we need to be at the end of the year.”

A big 2-1 victory over the Padres Friday night helped the Cubs get out on the right foot in June as they navigate a tough West Coast trip.

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