Take two aspirin before processing these head-spinning facts about the Cubs' World Series hangover

Take two aspirin before processing these head-spinning facts about the Cubs' World Series hangover

World Series hangovers have been a narrative for decades in baseball and for good reason: It's damn hard to repeat in any sport, let alone in baseball after playing into November the year prior.

And even though the Cubs won't admit any "hangover" or use that word, they're having one of the worst title defense seasons in baseball history.

For starters, they are the first World Series winner to be shutout in sending a returning player to the All-Star Game after Kris Bryant lost out to the Dodgers' Justin Turner in the final vote Thursday:

But the "hangover" effect doesn't stop there.

FiveThirtyEight took a look at run differential for defending champions and the Cubs rank sixth in declining differential:

What's even worse is that graphic was posted Thursday morning, before the Cubs went out and lost by nine to the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The 2014 Red Sox were among the most disappointing teams in recent history and the Marlins had that epic firesale after winning the 1997 World Series. The 1940 Yankees still had a fantastic season (+153 run differential) and the only reason their diffential dipped so much was because of a historic and unsustainable +438 run differential their championship season.

Of course, the season is not over yet and with 77 games remaining and an enormous amount of talent on the roster, the Cubs could still turn things around and find a way to climb off FiveThirtyEight's graphic altogether.

Then again, it could always go the other way, too, and the Cubs could soar to the top of this list...

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 49th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 49th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 49th homer of the season came with a runner on 1st and one out, when Oriel Hershiser served up a high fastball that Sammy belted 415 feet into the last few rows in left-center field. 

Sosa would later start the game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth, scoring the game-tying run on a Henry Rodriguez single through the right side of the infield. Jose Hernandez would step in the next at-bat and walk it off with a base hit that scored Mark Grace, as Sammy and the Cubs bested the Giants 6-5. 

Fun Fact: A 33-year-old Barry Bonds would hit home run No. 25, finishing the season with 37 homers. He would finish the next season with 34 dingers but would string five consecutive seasons with at least 45 home runs, of course hitting a record 73 home runs in 2001. 

Yu Darvish suffering another setback puts his 2018 season in jeopardy

Yu Darvish suffering another setback puts his 2018 season in jeopardy

Yu have to be kidding me (Sorry, couldn't resist). 

The Cubs were expecting Sunday's rehab start to be the beginning to an end of what has been an extremely disappointing 2018 season for their $126 million man Yu Darvish. Darvish was scheduled to start Sunday for the Cubs single-A affiliate in South Bend, IN, but after just one inning Darvish was checked on by the trainers and eventually pulled before the 2nd inning started. 

According to Steve Greenberg, Darvish asked for an MRI on Monday which likely closes the door on him returning to the Cubs in 2018.

The frustrating thing about Darvish's rehab is that in his two rehab starts, the 32-year-old pitcher has had excellent stuff, touching 95 mph in Sunday afternoon's game before being pulled. 

At this point in the season, it seems unlikely Darvish will be able to return to the Cubs rotation for the regular season. And it would be incredibly risky to roll with Darvish in the playoffs, who even when healthy hasn't shown he's deserving of a postseason roster spot. The Cubs do have options at starter in the minors like Duane Underwood or James Norwood, and despite his shortcomings, Tyler Chatwood is an option out of necessity now.  

Drew Smyly, who looked like a possibility as a late-season addition, is still not quite ready to come back and be an effective rotation piece at the moment. And with Mike Montgomery heading to the disabled list earlier this week, the Cubs were hopeful Darvish would be healthy by the time rosters expand in September. 

Luckily, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, and Kyle Hendricks have all looked stellar recently and hopefully can continue their success on the mound as the Cubs continue to fight past injuries to maintain their grasp on the NL Central. 

But Theo Epstein said himself last week that if Darvish didn't perform well during his rehab stint, that was essentially his 2018 season. Don't expect to see Darvish returning to the mound until 2019, Cubs fans.