The Cubs got off to a great start at Wrigley Field to begin the 2021 season, and that helped them climb to the top of the standings in the National League Central. Things started to change in the month of July, and it has been hard to pick up wins at Wrigley Field since.
The Cubs dropped both games to the Minnesota Twins this week in a battle of two teams that are buried in the standings. The offense continued to do some damage at the plate, but the Cubs pitching staff just couldn’t limit the damage enough.
Even Kyle Hendricks has struggled to win games at Wrigley Field over the last two months, and he is usually unhittable on the mound in Chicago. It’s admirable of Hendricks to want to continue to pitch and take his starts, but the Cubs are just wasting bullets in his right arm every time they send him out there.
The lack of fan support at Wrigley Field has also started to become noticeable over the last few series, and hopefully the owners and management are taking note. It’s clear that fans are no longer coming to Wrigley Field simply to party, and fans expect a much better product to be on display.
Dillon Maples Experiment Has Ended
The biggest news of the week is that the Dillon Maples experiment in Chicago appears to be coming to a close. Maples was designated for assignment before the game on Tuesday, and he was out-righted to Triple-A after clearing waivers.
It’s almost hard to believe how long Maples has been in the Cubs organization, and the team has continued to give him chances along the way. The Cubs awarded Maples with a big signing bonus back in 2011, but he has provided little value over the past decade.
Maples has pitched in parts of five different seasons for the Cubs, and his career ERA is over 5.00. He continues to have some of the best “stuff” in baseball, but he also struggled to throw strikes.
There is a good chance that Maples will get signed by a different team this offseason, but you won’t see him in a Cubs uniform ever again.
Time to Play Spoiler
Even though the Cubs are not going to make the playoffs this season, there is still plenty to play for over the final two weeks of the season. The Cubs will face the St. Louis Cardinals seven times from here on out, and they will do so looking to play the role of “spoiler.”
This was not the way that the Cubs had envisioned the season playing out, but at least the current Cubs will play in some meaningful games to close out the season. St. Louis is the hottest team in baseball at the moment, and it would be great to see the Cubs keep them from reaching the playoffs.
Clearly the Cubs are going to be the underdogs in nearly every single one of those games, but you can never count out a team playing with no pressure against a team in a playoff race. The Cardinals need these wins, while the Cubs simply want to ruin their celebration.