I’m feeling charitable, so you can have this week’s drip for free by hitting the link below:
If you like what you see, you can sign up for the rest of the season for just $15! As a teaser, here is this week’s guest column from friend of the program Craig Antosh:
Don’t do it, Theo. Jed… stand down. Pack up shop, fill a suitcase with some dad-shorts, and spend the next week in Barbados. Or Costa Rica. Or any other tropical locale with enough sand to bury your phone and enough locals to make the odds of running into a Cubs fan slim. This is the time to step away from business. This is not the time to deal. One. More. Year. Wait ‘til next year. It’s what we Cubs fans do, we’ll be fine.
There aren’t four longer days than the All-Star break. There’s nothing to fill the time for those of us that aren’t constructive enough to fill the time ourselves. I curse the union’s name for extending this to a fourth day. Three was hard enough.
So while we sit here in the desert of July, I was reflecting on what I wrote in the Brunch on Cubs Den on Sunday. And it struck me just how little we KNOW about this Cubs team. We think a lot of things, but there are few things we can write down in pen. Here they are (I think).
-Jake Arrieta is the best Cubs pitcher since Mark Prior. I know, that sounds weird to say, but it really is. Arrieta’s 2014 was better than any Cub pitcher put up since Prior’s 7.3 WAR season of 2003. Carlos Zambrano never topped it. Neither did Kerry Wood. That’s kind of amazing to think about that the Cubs went a full 12 years without a 5-WAR pitcher. And Arrieta is almost certainly going to double them up this season, which no Cubs pitcher has done since Greg Maddux, and he strung three together… and then put up another six in a row with the Braves, and they were all 7+ WAR seasons (great work there, Himes!).
We passed the actual halfway point this week, and find ourselves on the mythical one that is the All-Star Break (and there’s no week I hate more than the All-Star break. Just what am I supposed to do for four days? I seriously threw something when I found out the union added a fourth day to the break. Three I could almost handle, but four?)
Sadly for us, the Cubs aren’t exactly storming into the break. This 10-game homestand felt like it could be the gear change after the Cubs pretty much survived the toughest part of their schedule. And what’s upsetting, bordering on infuriating, is it’s just about inches from being the homestand we all hoped for. That one run loss to the Marlins. The loss in the middle of the week we won’t mention by name. Ending four consecutive innings on double plays. The Cubs are just a breath away from being what… 7-2 so far on this one?
Let’s ge t a disclaimer out of the way right at the top here. This isn’t some post declaring last night, or yesterday’s doubleheader sweep, some kind of turning point in the Cubs’ and Cardinals’ season. The Cubs still are a $20 cab ride from the top of the division, they’re still not as complete at St. Louis, and there’s many miles to go before we sleep. But it was satisfying in one way.
I feel like Jim Deshaies and I would get along quite well. During last night’s broadcast, he tossed a fair amount of shade on the idea that “the Cardinals just know how to win.” Away from a hot mic, J.D. might go ahead and say it’s utter bullshit. What the Cards do is just toss out really good players up and down the lineup and really good pitchers in the rotation and in the bullpen. That certainly makes it look like you know how to win, because generally they’re doing everything better than the team they are playing because of that aforementioned glut of good players.
I feel like I’ve spent a great deal of time, both here and in my own forums, writing about there are a lot of firsts (or return to things after a long hiatus) this season. Or preparing for firsts, or trying to remember how things go when your team is actually competitive again and trying to head things off before they happen. And so it is again this week.
We knew with a team this young that there would be bumps and stretches where they looked like utter garbage. That’s what young, incomplete teams do. It’s rather amazing that it took this long, which is probably why most of us are so bummed. That it took place in yet another trip into hell down I-55 makes it particularly sting.
This is this week’s editorial from The Ivy Drip.
Now that the Hawks’ dust has settled, and it becomes clearer to more and more people around town that there’s something going on on the Northside, the arguments and scrutiny around the Cubs are going to get more and more intense. This is just a fact. I noticed it already this week.
The debate on Twitter, after Kyle Schwarber was done tearing the Indians into chewed up paper bits, was why the Cubs had to have David Ross and whether or not Schwarber should stay with the Cubs longer than this past weekend. That’s not the part of the debate I’m most interested in, as I’m pretty sure he’ll be back up around the end of August and probably splitting time between left and catcher, depending on injuries and the development of Baez and Alcántara or the lack thereof.
No, the side of the debate I was most piqued by was the discussion of David Ross. Most Cubs fans, from what I can tell, are not enamored with Ross. Let me say at the top that most teams’ backup catchers aren’t very good, which is why they’re backups. Rare is the team that can evenly split starts between two receivers and not see a drop in production. So that’s established.