Cubs Insider

Cubs not winning but 'weathering storm' of tough June

Cubs Insider
Anthony Rizzo, who homered Saturday, flips his helmet after a strikeout.
USA Today

LOS ANGELES — A 3-2 loss on a ninth-inning home run Saturday night — less than 24 hours after a pair of lightning-strike shots in the eighth beat the Cubs on Friday night.

And just like that, a chance to beat the defending champs in a road series has turned into the fourth straight series for the Cubs without winning one — with the Cubs riding a slide of eight losses in their last 12 games into Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

Deflating? Demoralizing? Depressing?

Not exactly.

“I think we’re doing a hell of a job,” Jason Heyward said, “of weathering the storm of playing against good teams, but also playing the tough part of our schedule. June’s a tough month.”

The Cubs are 12-12 during a month that includes 18 of 28 games on the road — all of the trips to face National League contenders with formidable pitching staffs in San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.

They returned home for three days once and five days in their other June homestand.

“We know this nature of the best with our schedule as far as night games on the road and then coming home, having some day games and not feeling like you’ve got a lot of time,” said Heyward, who is 7-for-9 with three walks in the Dodgers series after struggling all season.

It’s not just the toughest stretch of pitching they’ll see all season Heyward is talking about weathering. It’s also a long list of injuries that included Sunday’s starter, Adbert Alzolay, who’s making just his second start back from a two-week blister problem, as well as starter Trevor Williams, reliever Justin Steele and second baseman Nico Hoerner — all three of whom start minor-league rehab assignments Sunday.

 

The Cubs opened the Dodgers series Thursday with the first combined no-hitter in franchise history, then lost late the last two nights after taking 2-2 games into the bottom of the eighth Friday and bottom of the ninth Saturday.

Saturday’s ended on 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger’s two-out drive over the center field wall off rookie Keegan Thompson.

The Cubs have four games left, including three in Milwaukee starting Monday, to close out a month that was considered their best chance to make a case to the front office to go big at the trade deadline.

And even though they fell to two games back of the first-place Brewers in the division — the furthest out of the lead they’ve been in more than a month — Heyward likes what he sees.

“To be honest, today’s game to me was another sign that we’re playing pretty good baseball,” he said. “Right now I like the way we’re weathering this.”

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