Cubs

Cubs in midst of another rough road trip as woes away from Wrigley Field continue

Cubs in midst of another rough road trip as woes away from Wrigley Field continue

Road trips have not been kind to the Cubs in 2019.

Following Friday’s game against the Dodgers, the Cubs are now 14-20 on the road this season. Furthermore, they are now 1-4 on their current road trip, which comes on the heels of their 1-5 road trip against the Astros and Cardinals from May 27-June 2.

Outside of Tuesday's 10-3 loss to the Rockies, though, the Cubs have faced the same problems on their current trip out in the wild, wild west. Cubs starting pitchers have surrendered early leads, and the offense has been unable to score after the early innings. A case-by-case look:

-Monday: Cubs take 4-0 lead over the Rockies in the third inning behind home runs from David Bote, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo. In the bottom half of the inning, the Rockies hit two, two-run home runs off Yu Darvish to even the score.

In fairness, the Cubs tied things up at five in the eighth inning after the Rockies took a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. However, Colorado re-took the lead in their half of the eighth, going on to win 6-5.

The first two games against the Dodgers have almost mirrored one another.

-Thursday: The Cubs held 3-0 lead after three innings, but the Dodgers scored seven unanswered runs to win 7-3.

-Friday: The Cubs held a 2-0 entering the bottom of the second inning and a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the third inning. The Dodgers scored in the third, fourth and fifth innings, while the Cubs were shutout for the final six innings en route to a 5-3 loss.

Thus, the Cubs are dealing with quite the quandary. The starting pitching is giving up early leads, but the offense has had ample time to either tie or re-take the lead. At the same time, the offense can’t be relied on to carry the Cubs in every game. The team needs their starting pitching to carry its weight. And again, in fairness, the rotation has done that and more this season.

Playing against a Rockies squad that is fifth in MLB with 366 runs scored, entering Friday, and against the National League-leading Dodgers (who now have won seven-straight home games) doesn’t help matters, of course. While their 1-4 record this week leaves a lot to be desired, the Cubs’ current road trip was never going to be a cake walk. For that matter, neither was the previous trip against the Astros and Cardinals.

Still, Monday, Thursday and Friday’s games were winnable for the Cubs and they came up short. Things aren’t about to get any easier, too, as the Cubs will face Walker Buehler (Saturday) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (Sunday) to close out the road trip.

Buehler (3.35 ERA, 78 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings) is one of the best young starting pitchers in baseball. Ryu (9-1, 1.36 ERA, 77 strikeouts/five walks in 86 innings) is an early candidate for the Cy Young Award. This isn’t to say Buehler and Ryu are unbeatable, but they hold a combined 16-2 record in 26 starts between the two of them this season. 

There’s still time for the Cubs to turn things around this weekend. Splitting a road series against the Dodgers — even after letting two early leads slip — would be a nice way to salvage a tough road trip. 

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Union's counter to MLB allows players to opt out of proposed 114-game season

Union's counter to MLB allows players to opt out of proposed 114-game season

The MLB players union sent its proposal for the 2020 season to MLB on Sunday, five days after receiving what they deemed to be an “extremely disappointing” financial proposal from the league.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the union’s proposal includes starting a 114-game regular season on June 30, an uptick from the 82 games the league has proposed. Players would be allowed to opt out of the season, with those considered to be “high risk” for developing symptoms of the coronavirus getting paid. Those not considered high risk wouldn’t be paid if they opt out but would receive service time.

The league's Tuesday proposal included a sliding scale where the top-earning players would take the biggest pay cuts, while the lowest earners would make close to prorated salaries. That was met with disapproval from the players, who agreed to take prorated salaries in March based on games played and believe that should stand as the lone pay cut for 2020.

RELATED: Major League Baseball swinging and missing on big opportunity

The owners have cited a provision where that agreement can be nullified if games are played without fans this season — meaning significant revenue losses. Fans aren't expected to be in attendance for most, if not all of this season. With the players seeking prorated salaries, playing more games means taking less of a pay cut. 

Under the union's proposal, the regular season would end on Halloween, with an expanded postseason following. MLB proposed adding four playoff teams in 2020 due to the unique nature of the season. The MLBPA, however, is also calling for an expanded postseason in 2021 — the last season of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.  

Financially speaking, MLB’s biggest incentive for the 2020 season is the national TV money brought in during the playoffs. Scheduling the postseason into mid or late November is risky, then, due to a potential second wave of the coronavirus.

The players are also asking for a $100 million advance during the second “spring training,” as well as an offer to receive a $100 million salary deferral if the postseason is cancelled. The deferral would be for players making $10 million or more before salary proration.

Players will need three or four weeks to ramp up before any regular season can begin. As Passan notes, the two sides need to come to an agreement this week for a June 30 Opening Day to be realistic.

RELATED: Why Scott Boras' comments on Cubs suggest optimism MLB, union can make deal

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Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts: 'We all need to step up to end' racial injustice

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USA TODAY

Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts: 'We all need to step up to end' racial injustice

Thursday, former Cub and current Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler posted a powerful statement on his Instagram addressing racial inequality in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

View this post on Instagram

Here’s the thing. I know it’s hard to fully grasp why black people are outraged. It’s hard to grasp unless you’ve seen people hold their purses tighter when you walk by, when you have people refer to you as “not black” when you’re not “ghetto”. When your parents have to give you a talk when you’re just a kid. “you can’t act like your white friends. you’ll get killed. they won’t” This is a generational discussion EVERY black family has. It terrifies you as a kid, and as an adult. You don’t understand why we know, those officers didn’t flinch at murdering that man, because he is black. The race card. We hold it. You tell us “it’s not about race” if we ever hold you to it. You don’t want us to have even that 1 bone chilling “privilege” of defense. You don’t want us to hold any privilege. We don’t hold the privilege of being a criminal, making a mistake, or simply taking a jog, the same as a white man, and being treated the same. He couldn’t breathe. He was murdered. They were gently fired from their jobs. This isn’t right. This can’t go on. (if you assume “you”, is you, and you’re upset about the generalization...... just think about that for a second)

A post shared by Dexter Fowler (@dexterfowler) on

RELATED: Chicago athletes react to nationwide unrest over George Floyd killing

Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts responded to Fowler, who also posted the statement on Twitter, expressing support with a heartfelt, strong message.

The Cubs haven't released an official statement; the Bulls released a statement on Sunday, the first major league sports team in Chicago to do so.

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