Well, now the Cubs have gone and done it.
Just as they saw one more wrong move from white-flag submission, they ripped off five wins in six days at Wrigley Field – including Friday, Saturday and Sunday against rival Cardinals – to turn a disappointing second-half start into what was, overall, a decent 6-4 homestand.
What are they thinking?
By now, of course, most of us are going to want to see what the Cubs—still three games under . 500 at 48-51, 6½ games behind the first-place Brewers and a little closer than that to the final wild card spot—can do with this latest mini-surge in momentum.
That’s probably not what president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer wants. At heart, Hoyer would probably prefer to tackle locked slugger Cody Bellinger and All-Star starting pitcher Marcus Stroman — neither of whom appear to be in the Cubs’ long-term plans — while the moment is hot. It’s an opportunity worth wisely considering, and kicking the can down the road may feel like two smaller risks.
But in the week that remains until they have to call the bets or fold their hands before the Aug. 1 trading deadline, the Cubs will visit the White Sox for two games and the Cardinals for four. Both teams are well past their expiration dates, and that also presents a huge opportunity for the Cubs.
And after that came four games against the Reds – one of the teams the Cubs are chasing – at Wrigley. Hoyer laying his cards in the middle of all the potential excitement was bound to look weak.
The need to snatch every day is clear and simple for All-Star shortstop Dansby Swanson.
“The good teams I’ve been on really took it seriously,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the ninth inning, every game and every moment matters.”
Swanson is the same person who met with the Chicago media after signing with the Cubs as a free agent and declared, “In everything I do – whatever it is – I win.” He later said in spring training that the Cubs were his team, just like the Braves were his team when they won the World Series in 2021. After 99 games, the Braves were 48-51. Sound familiar? Hoyer may want to pay attention to his $177 million shortstop.
Bellinger rolled out everything that wasn’t nailed down. Stroman is having his best season yet. Swanson returns after a brief stint on the injured list. Seiya Suzuki who has been inactive for a long time will come alive. Starter Jameson Taillon had three good games in a row, with the Cubs winning each of them.
Why not see where this is going?
Hoyer knows when to fold, if that’s the move. But does he have the guts to endure it? His bolder play probably earned him a lot of respect in this town.
DASH POINT POINT
The reflexive take on the Sox-Cubs is that the South Siders want to play spoiler against the North Siders, but doesn’t that give the Sox more credit than they deserve? It’s been almost two years since they seemed to be onto something. …
On the bright side, at least the Sox getting swept by the Twins in first place over the weekend doesn’t matter. At least blowing a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Sunday would be fine. At least right winger Oscar Colas fell with a routine pop fly in the 10th minute, allowing a tying run to score, no problem. At least failing to bring the ghost runner home on the 11th or 12th is fine.
You know, because none of that matters. …
What Cubs manager David Ross had to say about the Cubs’ pushing play:
“Nothing stood out that was extraordinary. I think my seat is leaning towards looking at the things we can improve on.”
“You’re absolutely right, I’m still worried.” …
Aye Dosunmu of the Bulls scored against the Mavericks.
Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images
Illinois fans got a little too excited a few years ago when they insisted that Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu was a “draft stealer,” but it’s nice to see the Bulls rejoin the South Side native on a three-year contract. One thing Dosunmu always does at high levels is work on his hindquarters. That alone makes it worth keeping. …
Congratulations to US golfer Brian Harman for becoming the third left-hander to win the British Open, joining Bob Charles (1963) and Phil Mickelson (2013). As far as we know, Mickelson remains the only left-handed “Lefty” to win it. …
There’s no telling how Washington’s NFL team will fare under new owner Josh Harris, but it’s definitely easier to back things up for the good for this franchise because it takes away the most offensive name in sports: Dan Snyder. …
Finally, the Bears opened training camp this week. Not to tell general manager Ryan Poles how to do his job, but he might at least consider swapping Justin Fields’ contactless red jersey for a ream of bubble wrap.
YOU MUST SEE THIS
Aces at Sky (6 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN): The reigning champions — soaring by a 21-2 score — visit the Wintrust Arena under one rock star: Candace Parker, who has an ankle injury. Would he at least be there to wave to the crowd?
Cubs at the White Sox (7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Marquee, NBCSCH): Even when neither team is even close to first place, a cross-town series is the perfect time. Correct? Rather?
Women’s World Cup: USA vs. Netherlands (8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox-32, Telemundo): The Americans beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the 2019 Cup final. Has the gap closed since then?
Chase Claypool: Yes, fans would love to see more of the dog at underperforming wide receiver, but the Bears putting him on the PUP list on Sunday is just not the right idea.
Lance Lynn: Not to be picky, but his 28 allowed home runs are a career high and the most in all of baseball. Maybe, just maybe, this doesn’t work.
Lionel Messi: Did you see it took the full 94 minutes to score that one foul goal in his MLS debut with Inter Miami? RATED TOO HIGH.
Shohei Ohtani: Do all these potential suitors really think he’s going to be able to decide where he wants to play next season? The man couldn’t even decide if he was a batter or a pitcher.
Sarcasm: Listen, sometimes it misses the mark. What do you want from me?