The Chicago Cubs are still vying for one of two NL Wild Card berths remaining, but a three-game debacle in Atlanta has the Loveable Losers' slim postseason dreams on life support. The juggernaut Atlanta Braves not only swept Chicago in their three-game series at Truist Park on their way towards securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but may have completely deflated the Cubs.
Chicago enters play on Friday with a respectable 82-77. That mark only has them half a game back of the Miami Marlins (82-76) for the final NL Wild Card spot and only two back of the Arizona Diamondbacks (84-75) for the No. 5 seed in the Senior Circuit. Unfortunately, they will have to face the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers at their place with seemingly all hope lost at this time.
To make matters even worse, ace pitcher Marcus Stroman's comments after the Cubs' latest defeat to Atlanta should make all of the North Side of Chicago sulk. It really sounds like they have given up...
"We almost seem defeated at times ... Everything that could be going wrong is going wrong. Hopefully, we washed it on this trip and hopefully, luck starts being in our favor in Milwaukee."
A great summer for the Cubs could be undermined by a collapse for the ages down the stretch.
Chicago Cubs seem to have given up on their quest of making playoffs
While I am personally elated to see my beloved Braves get to 103 wins and lock up home-field advantage throughout the World Series, you have to feel for Cubs fans right now. Whether it was the bullpen falling apart at the seams, more defensive lapses than any working brain can manage, or cringe-worthy commentary from the guys in The Marquee Network booth, that was a series from hell.
In terms of run differential, the Cubs are plus-97 on the season. That has them tied for third-best in the National League with the San Diego Padres, trailing only Atlanta (plus-234) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (plus-201). This is a better mark than Milwaukee (plus-80) and the Philadelphia Phillies (plus-81), as well as playoff-caliber teams in the negative like Arizona at minus-6) and Miami at ... minus-58.
If you keep wanting to do the math, the Cubs are seven games worse than their expected win/loss mark of 89-70. That is one better than the Brewers, who are 90-69 on the year and two games better than their expected mark of 88-71. Call it unlucky, call it what you want. Clearly, frustrations have boiled over at the intersection of Clark and Addison. This should be a division-winning team, people!
After a rough last few seasons, it just looks to be more of the same for the 2016 World Champions.