For as dominant as the Cubs have been all season long, I will say this — their fans never got cocky.
Because if you’re a Cubs fan, quite frankly, you were probably anticipating something like this. It’s not a lack of confidence in your own team. It’s more just bracing yourself for the worst case scenario, which often seems to happen in Wrigleyville. Now, I’m not saying that this is the worst case scenario. It’s not. But going into this season, I think we all knew that the San Francisco Giants were going to be a really good team. The Cubs have now lost 6 of their last 7 games, while the Giants have won 13 of their last 15.
But it’s not just a little hot streak for San Francisco and a cold streak for Chicago over the last week or so that we’re talking about here. On May 11, the Giants beat the Blue Jays to prevent being swept in a four-game series. Since that victory against Toronto to move to .500 on the season at 18-18, the Giants are 32-10, which is the highest win total in the MLB over that span. Since that same date, the Cubs are 23-20, and they’re hitting .242 as a team, which is 25th best out of 30 major league teams. The Giants are only hitting .260 as a team over that span, which isn’t anything to write home about, but where they’ve excelled, obviously, is their pitching.
Since May 11, the Giants lead the majors in ERA with a 2.76 team ERA. Guess who’s second? The Cubs (2.98). Their offense has failed them that badly that they have the second best ERA in the MLB during that same stretch, yet they’re still only three games over .500 for a 43-game sample. And I’m sure there are fans who would kill to have their team be three games over .500, but the Cubs have set the bar much higher than that in 2016.
So, what does this all mean? Should you panic if you’re a Cubs fan? Fuck no. My National League power rankings still have the Cubs right at the top of that list, and anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong. All this means is that Chicago’s path to the World Series isn’t going to be as much of a breeze as most others had previously expected. And, again, I’m not looping Cubs fans into those expectations. Really, it’s been the national media and fans in outside markets who thought that the Cubs would just burn a path to the World Series. And let’s face it — they still could. They’re that good. But while we praise the Cubs for how great they’ve been this season, let’s also recognize that the Giants are going to be right there with them, as are the Nationals, but I’m not allowed to write about them because Nate will get mad.