Chicago Cubs Weekly Update: Time For a Break

With Sunday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals getting rained out, the Cubbies got an early start to the All-Star Break. The Cubs won’t be back in action until next Friday, and this break couldn’t have come at a better time.

It was another disappointing week for the Cubs, as they managed to go just 2-4 against the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cardinals. The offense had just two big games during the week, but it was another poor offensive performance overall.

Kyle Hendricks once again delivered for the Cubs on Friday night as the Cubs rolled over St. Louis. Earlier in the week, the Cubs’ offense came alive to snap a brutal 11-game losing streak with a win over the Phillies.

The 2-4 week has the Cubs sitting at 44-46 on the season, and they are still eight games out of first place in the NL Central. The first half of the season ended with a tough 6-0 loss to the rival Cardinals.

Contreras Calls Out Teammates

It is pretty clear that many of the Cubs players are frustrated with how things have gone over the past month, but none of them have publicly stated that. That all changed on Saturday night when Willson Contreras made some interesting comments to the media.

Contreras appeared to call out some of the work ethic and preparation of his teammates, something that did not make David Ross very happy. It does seem like Contreras is right in what he was saying, but it’s never good to do that outside of the locker room.

The fact that the Cubs can now go their separate ways for a few days will likely diffuse the situation, but Contreras was not in the lineup on Sunday before the game was postponed.

Cubs' Willson Contreras Rips Team's Effort, Sends Message – NBC Chicago
Willson Contreras appeared to call out some of the work ethic and preparation of his teammates.

1st Half Review

The Cubs had a very interesting first half of the season, but the overall result is about what was expected of this team. Baseball experts picked the Cubs to be right around the .500 mark, and that’s exactly where they ended up.

The bad part is that the Cubs were actually in first place just a month ago, and they looked like a title contender. An 11-game losing streak changed all of that in a hurry, and it gave a pretty bad ending to the first half.

Here is a brief review of the 1st half of the season for the Chicago Cubs.

MVP: The Bullpen

With apologies to Kyle Hendricks, the entire bullpen has been the MVP for the Chicago Cubs so far. That unit has started to tail off a bit of late, but that group was dominant for the first three months of the season.

The Cubs have the fifth-best bullpen ERA in baseball, and the relievers also lead the league in strikeouts. This is a group that has been overworked, and other teams are also going to be calling about some of the top relievers.

LVP: Jake Arrieta

As painful as this is to say, Jake Arrieta was clearly the least valuable player in the first half. It’s hard to imagine Arrieta getting many starts after the All-Star Break or even remaining on the active roster.

Arrieta is still beloved in Chicago for what he did in 2015 and 2016, but he just doesn’t have the same stuff anymore. He is currently 5-9 with a whopping 6.30 ERA.

Best Moment: Combined No-Hitter

The Cubs threw a combined no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of June, the first time it has ever happened in franchise history. Kyle Davies got through the first six innings before the bullpen closed the door.

That momentum from the no-hitter did not carry over as the Cubs went on to lose the next 11 games.

Tense Few Weeks Coming

The only way the Cubs can save this season is by winning about 10-straight games to begin the second half of the season. Chicago does have a much easier schedule after the All-Star Break, but they have dug themselves a deep hole.

GM Jed Hoyer has confirmed that the team will look to be sellers at the Trade Deadline, and that could mean saying goodbye to some of the most popular players in Cubs history. The end is near for the Cubs’ “core.”