Last night the Chicago Cubs, who sit at 62-52 started a four-game series at the below .500 Cincinnati Reds. The road has not been kind to the Cubs this season.
Entering Thursday’s game, Chicago had a record of 21-33 on the road, which was fifth-worst in all of baseball. Remarkably the Cubs have overcome a deficit in the NL Central and taken a three-game lead over Milwaukee and St. Louis with less than 50 games to play. A 40-19 record at Wrigley will do that.
Chicago could very likely continue at the same pace and still make the playoffs for a fourth straight year, but it won’t be easy.
They need to win on the road if they want a fighting chance come October 1.
This season the Cubs started off the year by winning four of their first seven series on the road. However, that included a couple of series losses in St. Louis and Milwaukee.
And since the Cubs took a pair of late games in Washington in late May, they have lost seven straight series on the road.
Not only have the Cubs been good at home, but luckily they have been good at home against the Cardinals and Brewers and that has allowed them to gain their current lead in the NL Central. Chicago has swept St. Louis at Wrigley twice this season, but have went 1-5 on the road. The Cubs are 7-5 overall against the Brewers, but that includes a home sweep a couple of weekends ago.
No matter what the standings show now, a pair of trips to Milwaukee and St. Louis will likely decide the division in September. The Cubs play at Miller Park Sep. 5-8 with a four game set, and will finish the season in St. Louis with three games at the end of September. The Cubs play 14 games in September away from home, including 10 in division rival parks.
Continuing to only win at home may get the Cubs into the playoffs, but if Chicago wants to win the World Series for a second time in four years, they must win on the road.
My take is pretty simple.
I don’t think this Cubs team has the makings of anything past a first round out in October.
Sorry Cubs fans. I’m one of you, but it’s just the cold hard truth.
Jared McMurry was born and raised in Montgomery County and is the Sports Editor of the Journal Review. He can be reached by phone at 765-918-8656 or by email at email@example.com