Powell: No Need to Panic, Cubs Fans
By Kevin Powell
Is it time for Blackhawks fans to panic? Of course it is. Only four teams have come back from 3-0 deficits in seven-game series. Punch the panic button. While the Hawks have hit a slump at the worst possible time, the defending World Series Champion Cubs have hit a rough patch at probably the best time to do so: Mid-April.
“We’ll be fine, we’ll be fine,” Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. said after the teams fourth straight loss. “We just gotta keep playing ball, and we’ll be alright.”
For the most part, the Cubs have lacked clutch hitting. Couple that with the bullpens struggles, and you have a recipe for a losing streak. The bullpen gave up seven earned runs in the team’s first nine games. During their current four-game skid, they’ve surrendered 14 runs (12 earned). The bullpen has a 4.10 ERA.
“The bullpen, we have to really find their confidence somehow,” manager Joe Maddon said after their Monday night loss to the Brewers. “We have to do better in the latter part of the game.”
Keep in mind Carl Edwards Jr. has missed the past four games while on the bereavement list. Edwards has returned and Tommy La Stella was placed on the bereavement list. That means the Cubs will carry eight relievers for the first time this season.
“It’s too early to panic about anything right now. We’ve got obviously a lot of talent on this team,” veteran righty John Lackey said after taking his second loss of the season Monday night. “The last ten years, or so, I kinda break the season up into quarters. Until you get to about 40 or 50 games, we’ll see where we’re at. But right now, it’s pretty early.”
Very early. So don’t worry, Cubs fans. The Champs should be just fine. And if the bullpen doesn’t straighten things out, the Cubs have all sorts of assets they can move at the trade deadline to acquire reliever help. Remember Aroldis Chapman?
Cubs fans, you’re good. Blackhawks fans, hit that panic button.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720