By Kevin Powell
The Brewers refuse to go away. Same goes for the Cardinals. And with just three weeks remaining in the regular season, it’s going to be a wild ride to the finish line in the NL Central with the Cubs division lead down to just two games.
“September baseball is fun,” rookie Ian Happ said after the Cubs were swept by the Brewers at Wrigley. “The next few weeks are going to be a blast.”
Fun is one way to put it. Maybe a little less fun and a whole lot more stressful for fans. With the division race tightening, the Cubs aren’t doing themselves any favors. Over their last eight games they’ve been shutout twice, they’ve scored one run three times and they platted a grand total of three over the weekend, getting outscored 20-3.
“It’s contagious to hit as well as it is to not hit,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You have to keep working your way through it. It’s going to come back to us, we’re going to start hitting again.”
So, what’s happened to the offense?
“Nothing’s happened. Baseball happened,” Jason Heyward said after Sunday’s loss.
Baseball is certainly happening. Slumps happen. But things can change fast. Would it be a surprise to anyone to see the Cubs reel off six or seven straight wins?
Look at Milwaukee. They were swept by the last-place Reds then proceeded to complete their first sweep at Wrigley in 15 years. And just when you though the Cardinals might fade away, they bounce back, winning eight of ten to keep pace with the Brewers.
The Cubs play St. Louis seven more times, and Milwaukee four more times. And while many of you are already in football mode, don’t forget about baseball. As Happ said, the next few weeks are going to be a blast.
NEWS and NOTES
-The Cubs have lost four straight home games for the first time since June 7-10
-After Sunday’s solid performance, Kyle Hendricks has thrown six consecutive quality starts, the second longest streak by a Cubs pitcher this season
-Kris Bryant went 0-for-4 on Sunday, the first time in his last 35 starts he did not reach base
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