The Cubs just completed a 9-game home stand against the Mets, Pirates and Astros. The Cubs entered the home stand 5 games below .500 and it was concluding the easiest part of their schedule. The Cubs needed to make up ground during this home stand because even if they play well after, it’s unlikely they can improve their record all that much. Instead, the Cubs won just 3 and their odds of reaching the postseason are sure to be below 1% after the games today.
The Cubs had a relatively easy April. The teams they played combined for a .480 winning percentage and a .475 projected winning percentage. May was a bit tougher, but April and May combined the teams they played had a winning percentage of .491 and a projected winning percentage of .488.
In June the Cubs play 10 games against teams that are currently playing .550 ball or better. They play 3 against the Cardinals beginning on Friday (.589), 4 with the Phillies (.618) and 3 with the Yankees (.566). They also have 4 against the Brewers (.545), 3 against the Giants (.537) and 3 against the Reds (.500). Overall, the June opponents have a combined winning percentage of .533. The projected winning percentage if .522. It’s without a doubt the team’s toughest month and it leads right up to the month where teams begin to decide whether or not they should be buyers or sellers.
The Cubs went 23-31 against .491 opponents (.488 projected). Even playing .500 in June would mean the Cubs played great baseball. Has this team at any point this year looked like it was capable of playing great baseball for any period longer than an inning or two? I haven’t seen it.
Things are easier in July, but the actual winning percentage of the Cubs opponents is still .509 though the projected winning percentage is .485. Immediately after the all-star break the Cubs open up a 7-game home stand against the Marlins (.585, .506) and Phillies (.618, .559). After 3 against Houston the Cubs play 6 vs the Brewers (.545, .513) and Braves (.589, .514). There are some games the Cubs can win. They play 4 against the Nationals (.426, .446) and have 6 other games they should win. Unfortunately though, those 6 games are against the Pirates and Astros and the Cubs just haven’t had very much success against them over the last couple seasons. Does anyone feel like the Cubs can dominate either of those teams (or the Nationals for that matter)? I don’t. The Cubs also finish the month with 3 against the Cardinals.
From a projected winning percentage standpoint, August is tougher than July though not exactly tough. The actual winning percentage of the opponents in August is .503 and the projected is .495. The month is actually tougher than you may think because the Cubs finish the month with 13 games against teams who currently have played no worse than .536 baseball. They play the Cardinals, Braves, Brewers and Giants. Also in August they play another series against the Braves and one against the Reds as well. Their easy series that bring down the totals? The Pirates and Astros.
September is fairly easy. The teams they play have played .486 ball (projected .489), but they do play 7 against Cincy. They play 3 against the Brewers and Cardinals. Those fucking Pirates and Astros show up again.
I expected this team to win somewhere between 78 and 80 games. I actually expected them to get off to a decent start considering the April schedule and would have thought they’d be a game or two above .500 at this point. They needed to be that much above .500 at the very least. Even at .500 at this point, or a game or two above, the Cubs would likely and will still likely go well below .500 the rest of the way. This is a team that is considerably worse than I was thinking. There are a number of reasons for this.
The injuries haven’t helped, but I also expected Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez to return to pre 2010 form. They haven’t. I expected Marlon Byrd to hit as he did last year. He hasn’t. I expected Geovany Soto to be good, but not as good as last season. He’s been more 2009 Geovany Soto than anything else. I expected the Cubs would be strong from the top four spots of their rotation. Instead, they’ve gotten some questionable performances from Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano. Matt Garza has been unbelievable, but has his ERA doesn’t represent how good he was before hitting the DL. Randy Wells hit the DL after one start.