For our Cubs weekly update, the Chicago Cubs began the second half of the 2021 MLB season on Friday night, and they were in Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks. This was the perfect opponent for the Cubs as they needed to get off to a good start after the All-Star Break.
Craig Kimbrel and Kris Bryant were the two Cubs’ representatives in the All-Star Game, and both players appeared for the National League. Kimbrel had a solid outing on the mound while Bryant went 0-2 at the plate.
The Cubs wasted little time in getting the second half off to a good start by picking up a 5-1 win over Arizona on Friday night. Kyle Hendricks was once again tremendous on the mound for Chicago, and this was a pretty solid win.
Chicago needed a two-out rally in the 9th inning on Saturday afternoon to pick up a 4-2 win over Arizona. That victory got the Cubs back to the .500 mark on the season.
On Sunday, the Cubs pitchers walked 11 batters, and that led to a 6-4 loss. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez were solid at the plate yet again for the Cubs, but they just couldn’t overcome a poor performance on the mound.
Taking two out of three games in Arizona is usually a solid performance, but the Cubs needed a sweep this weekend. Arizona is the worst team in baseball, and Chicago gave up a chance to pick up three straight wins on Sunday.
Joc on the Move
Before the second half of the season even began, the Cubs dealt Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves for a minor league first baseman. Bryce Ball is the player coming back to the Cubs, but he isn’t likely to make his way to Wrigley Field for a number of years.
Pederson was solid in his first few months with the Cubs, and he definitely provided a breath of fresh air on this club. Several of the Cubs players talked glowingly about his time in Chicago, and it does leave a hole at the top of the lineup.
This was a solid move for the Cubs as Ball is one of the top-15 prospects in the Braves organization. Pederson was never going to have a future in Chicago, and Jed Hoyer was able to take advantage of a strong first half from Peterson.
Playoff Hopes Diminishing
The Cubs entered the second half of the season in third place in the NL Central Division. Chicago was trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by eight games in the division, and that came after losing 11 straight games.
Taking two out of three games should have helped the Cubs’ playoff chances, but the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Cincinnati Reds this weekend. The Cubs are now nine games out of first place, and it doesn’t appear they will be able to close the gap.
The Wild Card situation isn’t any better, as that will likely go to the two teams in the NL West that are unable to win that loaded division.
Final 2 Weeks With Stars?
You are going to hear plenty of rumors over the next two weeks, and some of them might end up being true. Teams are going to call the Cubs and look to make some moves, and it could spell the end of the run for some of the Cubs’ core.
This is the reality of baseball, and the Cubs weren’t going to be able to hold on to the biggest stars forever. Saying goodbye to Bryant, Baez, or Anthony Rizzo won’t be easy, but there is a good chance it will happen soon.
The best plan is to enjoy these final two weeks in July and cherish all of the memories the stars have provided. This season isn’t going to end with another title, but these players delivered one of the biggest titles in all of sports.