Stumbling

The Cubs didn’t exactly pick the right time to email their season ticket holders notifying them they could purchase for the upcoming postseason today. The Cubs have now lost three in a row after having won their previous 15/16. Cubs ace Jon Lester got rocked last night in one of the shortest outings this season after giving up a three home runs in 2 2/3IP. One was to the pitcher Daniel Norris in his first professional AB and the other two were to Nick Castellanos who had a huge night with five RBI’s and four hits. Chicago would get as close to 8-5 by the seventh, but the wheels came off in the later innings eventually leading to a 15-8 drubbing.

The Cubs still have a comfortable three game lead on the Giants, but the chase to host the Wild Card tilt at Wrigley appears to be slipping away once again. The Cubs managed to get the Pirates lead down to 1.5, but now that they’re lost three in a row, the lead is back to four and the Pirates are 24 games over five hundred compared to the Cubs who’re just 16. Chicago’s bats are not the the problem as they’ve been scoring runs in bunches. The main cause has been the pitching which has lead them to take a step backwards. Jason Hammel had a rough outing on Tuesday and that was followed up last night by the guy who was brought in to stop losing streaks having a clunker of his own.

Chicago continues the home stand tonight when the Braves come to town in another game that favors the Cubs in the pitching department. Jake Arrieta pitches tonight, and he’s probably the real ace of the staff despite Lester’s reputation as an opening day starter. Arrieta’s 14-6 with a 2.39 ERA and has only been getting better as the season has gone on. Arrieta has even said as much as to throw his career out the window because he’s a completely different pitcher than what he was with Baltimore. The Cubs have faired well this season against the Braves having won two of three earlier in the season down at Turner Field. The Cubs still have five games remaining on this home stand that will go into Monday before they head west to take on the Dodgers and Giants in what will be very important Wild Card games.

If Chicago can win the next four of five they should be alright before they head out on their trip. In terms of tonight, the biggest key is ending the losing streak behind another one of their horses on the mound.