Loss to Giants Illustrates Changes in Expectations for Cubs, Also Highlights Deficiencies
If you were to look at the Chicago Cubs’ 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants six days ago, it would have seemed like something of a run-of-the-mill result for a team that has often struggled to get beyond the .500 mark. On the back of an impressive and surprising run during the second half of the season, however, the defeat came as a surprise to many who have seen the Cubs put in a string of performances worthy of a team looking to challenge in the postseason rather than one facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs.
This Cubs team is definitely showing that it could have what it takes to go all the way, possibly even as early as next season, although Cubs fans will know a strong start will be crucial to their hopes of challenging in 2016. While the franchise is still in the mix this season — available at around 14/1 to win the World Series when this article was produced, for those gamblers looking to use their casino winnings from the likes of 32Red and Titanbet to bet on baseball — it would take a monumental effort from this roster to be able to take out the likes of the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays when it comes to the playoffs. The loss to the Giants might not have been season-ending but it does highlight the fact that this Cubs team might not have the level of ruthless consistency that it takes to win a World Series.
In a game which saw a number of the Cubs’ younger players make simple mistakes, some schoolboy defensive errors in the outfield and failing to maintain their early offensive form, this sloppy performance from Joe Maddon’s crew has been viewed as a rare poor performance as opposed to the standard. While this might have been a typical Cubs display in years gone by, the likes of Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber have all stepped up this year and shown that this Chicago team has a lot more to it than others of the recent past.
Instead of pushing the leading MLB teams into the postseason, the Cubs are instead playing something like catch-up with those teams despite the fact they have one of the league’s best records. But that electric run of results has convinced some betting with 32Red and other bookmakers that the Cubs could end up being one of the surprise packages when it comes to the playoffs this year, even though other betting favorites are expected to be fighting it out in the World Series. The franchise’s management will be under no illusions that this year isn’t the be all and end all, though, knowing that any postseason experience could end up being invaluable heading into the future.
With Maddon in charge, the Cubs are in very good hands. The manager knows just what to do and when to do it, whether that is pulling a starting pitcher out of action early or resting one of his main players, and the results show just how much of an impact the 61-year-old has had on the franchise during his first season in charge. The question is now whether Maddon can bring the good times back to Wrigley Field and for how long.