View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



September 2017



Lowering the Bar

Written by , Posted in General

On a day the Cubs got semi-good news on Jake Arrieta’s injury to his hamstring, the bullpen wet their pants and gave up a lead late.

Sherm wrote the other day that we heard the sound of this team clicking. I’m still not buying it, and I’m an optimist. I believe that there is something to the concept that teams coming off a championship tend to struggle the following year. There is a reason we see teams that win even struggle to win the division the following year. I believe it’s because there is so much emotion around winning and reaching the top of the mountain that the hunger is not as strong the following year.

Thankfully, through this whole season, the Brewers, Cardinals, and Pirates have done everything in their power to open the door and let us walk through to the division title. There should be no reason that the series with the Brewers this weekend should mean anything. Instead, it’s a very important matchup.

I don’t know what we’re going to see in October, but I know we’ll be there and I know I’ll watch. I’m just not sure I’ll want to admit it.

  • Doc Raker

    Hendricks was out for 7 weeks with hand tendinitis. It could have been all the strain on his hand from signing autographs all off season long. Seriously, after a World Series Championship win all those players where on the celebration circuit so staying in shape was not their top priority.

    Cubs give it up in the bottom of the 8th. Do we have a bullpen guy you can really count on that doesn’t walk the first batter of the inning every time out?

  • Junior Von White

    I don’t buy the argument that they’re too tired from wining the World Series. I think it’s true with several players (Zobrist, maybe Russell, seems like Lester a bit, and others too), but because this team is so stacked with talent, I think their current lackluster performance is inexplicable. The best team might be one with alot of last years back ups or new acquisitions, and that should be OK. Last years starters shouldn’t be given priority just because they were on the team last year. I’m talking about Schwarber, Zobrist (who actually has started coming around lately), Russell, Lackey, and other guys that are underperforming when there is someone else playing better behind them. I’m not saying to get rid of the underperformers, but let them know they’ve gotta earn back their spot.

    That might light a fire under some of them, and suddenly, the team is performing how it should, either with last years stars, or with new stars.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Tomorrow we need a story with the title The Streak Ends

  • cap’n realist

    MLB’s rules to speed up play are an unfunny joke. It took the Pirates about 7 minutes to get their closer to the mound after they took the lead suddenly. ALL 4 umpires were in the outfield yelling at the bullpen. The penance? The guy came out, got his full 8 mound warmups, and diced the Cub hitters up. There has to be some type f punishment for this. Clint Hurdle knew there wasn’t a thing they could do, am smiled through the entire episode.

    If the Pirates don’t run the bases like little leaguers, it’s not even a save situation…but t was still exasperating to watch that unfold with the new speed up rules.

  • Brad Lyerla

    Take a deep breath, Brad . . .

    I get the doom and gloom. I feel it too. But you have to admit that this season has been fascinating baseball. Often bad, but still fascinating as we try to understand how this magnificent line up simply cannot muster any sort of sustained excellence.

    I buy the hangover/fatigue theory in part. I also think that they are psyching themselves out to some degree because their self-image is different this season, so their expectations are different, and possibly unrealistic.

    In any event, its going to be impossible to look away this month, whatever happens. It may be painful. It may be joyful. But it is a great time to be a Cubs fan.

  • Michael S.

    Overall, the theme of the year has been Consistently Inconsistent. For a time they’ll look like a juggernaut that could beat all comers…and then out of the blue, they turn into a 5-and-under tee-ball team without a tee and no idea what to do. Sometimes for an inning, sometimes for a game, sometimes for a whole week.

    Gives me very little comfort that they could possibly limp in to the playoffs for a 3rd straight year for the first time in forever.

  • Eddie Von White

    I think Arietta is struggling with age more than fatigue. His career numbers are not what 2015 and 16 were. Heyward is just not a good hitter. Average at best, way below average when he’s not at his best. Russell is hurt. Lester and Lackey are aging. Rondon and Strop have lost whatever they had. The guys that should be playing aren’t playing and the ones that shouldn’t be are, so we don’t know what the team could be doing. I don’t agree with the fatigue idea. I’d say it’s mostly young players not realizing what it takes to be competitive day in and day out. Too much goofing off – not enough work.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      The only reason I have seen to believe the fatigue factor could be real is that the Cubs are the first World Series Champions since 2010 to be leading their division on Labor Day.

      • Brad Lyerla

        That’s an important data point. But it’s also relevant to remember that fatigue is not just physical. It’s mental and it’s psychological too.

        I take it seriously. It affects people in lots of jobs, not just sports.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Jerry, that’s an important data point. I think it’s also relevant to think about fatigue being mental, as in my brain is tired, and I can’t sustain this level of focus. And it’s psychological, as in this doesn’t feel the same and how do I get it back . . .

        I take these things seriously. I see versions of this in my day job all the time.

      • cap’n realist

        you mean like when you post similar comments in the same thread without knowing it? Could be fatigue related I guess.

      • Brad Lyerla

        No. That’s old age. I mean, that’s being elderly.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Actually, I thought the first time failed to post. Lap top acting up.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Blame it on Bill Gates. Unless it’s a Mac, then blame it on Steve Jobs

      • Brad Lyerla

        Jobs it is. Or it might have been the operator.

      • Bryzzo1744

        It’s on Jobs.

      • Bryzzo1744


      • Doc Raker

        Thanks to a truly putrid division

  • Bryzzo1744

    Finally some questions we’ve been asking here on the blog made it to the Chicago Tribune Cubs mailbag:

    • Brad Lyerla

      Thanks for sharing this. Good read.

  • Doc Raker

    I recommend the Pirates Radio feed tonight. They are talking about ROberto Clemente becuase it is Roberto Clemente day. Roberto Clemente stories are much more interesting than anything Len has ever talked about.