This 2021 season of Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs was always going to come with some challenges, and it was clear that this would be a season of change. There have been many points of the year that have felt like rock bottom for the Cubs, but now it feels like things are only going to keep getting worse for Wrigleyville.
Letting Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester go hurt, and the trade of Yu Darvish felt like a blow to the potential playoff chances. After getting off to a great start, the Chicago Cubs suffered an 11-game losing streak that gave the front office the power to break this team up.
It didn’t seem like things could get any worse than what occurred on July 30 and 31 as three of the most beloved Cubs players of all time were traded away. A three-game sweep by the White Sox over the weekend was tough to stomach, but that still wasn’t the low-point of the season.
After losing three straight games to the Milwaukee Brewers, it now feels like things are only going to keep getting worse from here. The Cubs were expected to lose more games than they won the rest of the way, but this has been embarrassing.
This team appears to have completely given up, and they aren’t even competing in most of these losses. You can blame some of that on youth and inexperience, but it’s hard to remember another “Dynasty” ending as quickly as the one did at Wrigley Field.
Cubs Hitters are Overmatched
Corbin Burnes started for the Brewers on Wednesday night, and it looked at times as if he was facing a High School JV team at the plate. Burnes struck out 15 batters through eight innings and tied a Major League record with 10 straight K’s at one point.
The camera crew caught Burnes chuckling on the mound at one point during the game, but there was no laughing coming from the home side. Anger, sadness, disappointment, and nausea best describe some of the feelings felt by Cubs fans watching their offense at the plate on Wednesday night.
This lineup is now one of the worst in baseball, with the only real threats of doing much of anything are when Willson Contreras or Patrick Wisdom are in the batter’s box.
Arrieta is Done
This part is difficult to type, but Jake Arrieta should have pitched his last inning of baseball in the Majors on Wednesday night. Arrieta was tagged for seven runs in the first inning, and this continues a trend of terrible starts this season.
The Cubs don’t need Arrieta to pitch them back into the playoffs, and the nostalgia of his return has worn off. Arrieta simply doesn’t have good enough stuff anymore, and David Ross needs to end this experiment.
Arrieta should be remembered for his work in 2015 and 2016 and not for the shell of himself that he now is. Keep him on the team as a coach or yoga instructor, but he should never make another start for the Chicago Cubs.
Hendricks is the Only Hope
Kyle Hendricks is set to start the series finale against the Brewers on Thursday afternoon, and he is about the only bright spot for this Cubs team. Hendricks hasn’t lost a game in months, but he might need to throw a complete game shutout if he is going to pick up a win and snap this long losing streak.
The Cubs will be facing Brandon Woodruff of the Brewers, and he has a history of completely dominating Chicago every time he takes the mound. Those previous starts were all against an actual Major League Baseball team and not some rag-tag group of AAA players.
Hendricks is known as “The Professor,” but the Cubs might need him to be “The Magician” if he is going to find a way to outduel Woodruff and win a game.