After the All-Star break, the Cubs went on a tear winning 13 of 16 games in the month of July. This run got a lot of people thinking they were about to break out for a 2016-esque late season streak to smoothly transition them into the playoffs.
Then August came around.
Since the change of month, the Cubs have lost seven of the 11 games they've played including three of five on the West coast. Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks continued the mini slide. As a result, their lead in the division has been erased. The St. Louis Cardinals have moved into a tie for the division lead. So what gives? What happened to the team that made great moves at the trade deadline and killed it in July?
On the surface, it looks like the team is just worn down. They've only had one day off since the beginning of August and won't get another day off until August 21. For those of you counting at home that's three straight weeks of baseball for a team that was playing late into October last season. Not just that, but the Cubs are under a microscope unlike any other team. Everyone expected them to come out firing this season to defend their title seeing how dominant they were last year, but that was never the case. The Cubs struggled at the beginning of the season from a post-championship hangover that has somehow managed to stretch into August.
They've caught lightning in a bottle before, it's nothing strange to them. Last year they had a late season run that, arguably, helped propel them into a hot start in the playoffs which ended quite well. What the Cubs need is to find the cure to this lightning once again, and they need to find it fast. Otherwise, their August blues will only be the beginning of their troubles.