CSN's David Kaplan and David DeJesus discuss the upcoming matchups in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.
Maybe a four-game series with the N.L. East-leading Washington Nationals will help the Cubs take off.
It did last year.
The Cubs swept the Nats early last season, boosting themselves into first place in the National League - a position they wouldn't relinquish. More than a sweep, though, a positive series is vital for a team that continues to hover around .500.
To do so, Joe Maddon's pitchers must somehow slow the Nationals offense, which has managed to push across more runs than any team in the majors.
After D.C., the Cubs are off to Cincy for a three-game set with the Reds.
Watch David Kaplan and David DeJesus preview the upcoming matchups in the video above.
MIAMI – Jon Jay walked into a quiet clubhouse late Sunday morning, turned right and headed directly toward the sound system in one corner of the room, plugging his phone into the sound system and playing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”
The Cubs outfielder whistled as he changed into his work clothes at Marlins Park, singing along to the lyrics with Anthony Rizzo a few lockers over: “Don’t worry, about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
That’s what the Cubs keep telling themselves, because most of them have World Series rings and the National League Central is such a bad division.
“The biggest thing is to keep the floaties on until we get this thing right,” manager Joe Maddon said before a 4-2 loss left the Cubs treading water again at 38-37. “We’re solvent. We’re right there. We’re right next to first place.”
The Cubs will leave this tropical environment and jump into the deep end on Monday night for the start of a four-game showdown against the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital.
Miami sunk the Cubs in the first inning when Addison Russell made a costly error on the routine groundball Miami leadoff guy Ichiro Suzuki chopped to shortstop, a mistake that helped create three unearned runs. Martin Prado drilled Mike Montgomery’s first-pitch fastball off the left-center field wall for a two-out double and a 3-0 lead. Montgomery (1-4, 2.03 ERA) lasted six innings and retired the last 10 batters he faced.
“Keep The Floaties On” sounds like an idea for Maddon’s next T-shirt. The 2017 Cubs haven’t been more than four games over .500 or two games under .500 at any point this season. The 2016 Cubs didn’t lose their 37th game until July 19 and spent 180 days in first place.
“That’s what was so special about it,” Rizzo said. “We boat-raced from Game 1 to Game 7 with a couple bumps in the road, but this is baseball. It’s not going to be all smooth-sailing every day. You got to work through things.”