CHICAGO

Chicago Cubs: Expectations vs. Reality

The Cubs have had a nightmare start to 2019 and they can’t wait to get back home.

While the season may be young, the Cubs are off to one of their worst starts in recent memory. They’re in trouble and everyone knows it. That being said, there is still a long season left with plenty of chances to turn things around.


Start of the Season

Expectation: Cubs will win five of 10 games

As a fan, you never want to see your team lose. The Cubs have shown they can win in spurts, having won nine of 10 and eight of nine in stretches last season. They opened the 2018 season by winning two of their first three and five of their first 10. It didn’t seem like it would be too out of the question for the Cubs to replicate that this season. They have the weapons to plate runs, a relatively solid defense, and a pitching rotation made up of veteran stars.

Reality: Cubs lose first three series, win two games

Wow, I don’t think anybody could’ve predicted such a bad start from this club. The whole “bullpen imploding” issue doesn’t come as quite a shock, but the severity of it does. An occasional mishap can be tolerated but when they single-handedly cost the Cubs several games in a row, then there’s a problem.

It’s not just them though, the starting pitchers haven’t had much success either. Jon Lester could easily have two wins but saw his most recent game go up in smoke after being pulled. Cole Hamels has been the only other starter to have any success. In his most recent outing, Hamels earned a win after going six deep, allowing six hits and two runs. The other three (Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana) have been mediocre at best but the story so far has been the bullpen, or lack thereof.

Home Sweet Home

Expectation: Win first home series of 2019

The Cubs are finally holding their 2019 home opener on April 8. The season began almost two weeks ago and the Cubs haven’t even been home yet. The only other team who has yet to play at home is the Boston Red Sox, which is crazy. That being said, the Cubs are hosting the Pirates for their first home series.

Pittsburgh has already exceeded early expectations it seems, holding a 5-3 record and second in the NL Central. It should be noted they’ve won four games against the Reds, who are just as bad as the Cubs so far this season. The Pirates are coming off a four-game sweep of Cincinatti, but the Cubs won’t let that happen in front of their home fans.

The Cubs will send Lester to the mound to open the series and will get a day off before Darvish and Quintana finish out the series. Between two of them, along with a more steady bullpen and some offense, the Cubs should win two of three.

Reality: Cubs win one, lose series

The results have yet to be seen but the optimistic side of the Cubs fan base has to hope for at least one win. It’s come to the point in the season where the victories are celebrated by anxious fans, not just expected. I think Lester gets it done in game one but the mediocrity of Darvish and Quintana will show and they’ll wind up losing the series.

As noted, the Pirates have started off hot, have won their last four games and could easily ruin the much-anticipated opening series at Wrigley. The Cubs have won at least 40 home games the past five seasons, including winning 41 homes games in 2014 when they finished near the bottom of the National League.

Regardless of the results, the Cubs have had a nightmare start to 2019 and they can’t wait to be back home.

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