Chicago Cubs get swept by the Cincinnati Reds on an ‘ugly weekend’ — and the schedule is about to get harder

Fast, any particular person — anybody. When you’re wherever near the Chicago Cubs, push the button.

As a result of merely two months into the season, the Cubs have fallen and to allow them to’t stand up.

One other 8-5 loss Sunday to the Cincinnati Reds — a workforce that was in closing place as these days as Friday — ensured one different day of the Cubs lugging throughout the worst file inside the Nationwide League.

And if getting swept at home for the first time this season by a low-budget workforce that misplaced 100 video video games a 12 months previously didn’t ship ample sting to the 40,000-plus who had been requested to pay for the privilege of watching it, buckle up for a schedule between now and the All-Star break that begins with the best-in-baseball Tampa Bay Rays and finishes at Yankee Stadium.

“It’s fairly irritating,” acknowledged Drew Smyly, considered one of many Cubs’ most interesting starters this 12 months nonetheless who purchased his ears boxed by the Reds for the second time this season. “It was an unsightly weekend for us. The Reds got here in and beat us up.”

It wasn’t merely this weekend. The Cubs are 5 weeks proper right into a multisystem breakdown that has followers filling social media with hashtags calling for the firing of everyone from supervisor David Ross and President Jed Hoyer to any of a half-dozen players and Clark the Cub.

The solely trigger the Cubs don’t have a extra in-depth controversy is on account of they don’t have a extra in-depth.

Even enterprise operations President Crane Kenney’s facet of the group purchased into the Memorial Day weekend embarrassment with what may very well be the symbolic low degree of the season: signing off on Saturday’s distribution of lots of of promotional bobbleheads of revered Corridor of Famer Billy Williams — that someway had the fallacious uniform amount on the figurine’s once more.

The bottom line for a workforce attempting to tug off a second full-blown, tank-job rebuild on Kenney’s watch is that it’s not even June, and even the blokes inside the clubhouse know the trade-deadline watch is on for the third 12 months in a row.

“The fact of the enterprise is it’s a bottom-line business,” acknowledged struggling starter Jameson Taillon, who signed a four-year, $68 million free-agent deal over the winter. “You don’t need to put the entrance workplace in a spot to make these choices. You need to make it the opposite manner round. You need to put them ready to must exit and add to the staff.”

Taillon, the shedding pitcher Saturday, was part of a $300 million offseason that was supposed to buy a step forward on this rebuild — which Hoyer refused to call a rebuild within the summertime of 2021 when he traded away most of the remaining 2016 championship core — if not buy a possibility to compete for a playoff spot in considered one of many two softest divisions inside the majors.

As a substitute, Cody Bellinger’s one-year contract and .830 OPS appears way more like a technique to amass youthful experience than a technique to any October end as quickly as he’s once more from his knee hurt. Trey Mancini’s 2-for-3 Sunday will likely be seen by the identical lens. Beginning pitcher Marcus Stroman — with that 2.95 ERA and an opt-out clause on the end of the 12 months — might very properly be an notably helpful commerce piece inside the coming weeks.

And if reliever Brad Boxberger will get healthful rapidly ample and reliever Michael Fulmer can regain some semblance of reliable kind, correctly, you get the thought.

“It’s our job to make it as powerful on them going ahead as doable,” Taillon acknowledged. “Summer season’s beginning. It’s not essentially what I might name early anymore within the season. So it’s time to go on the market and begin placing wins within the win column.”

Gamers naturally say their confidence stays sturdy. Even in closing place, the Cubs are merely 5½ video video games (albeit 4 teams) from the very best of the division. And 4 months keep inside the season — two sooner than the commerce deadline.

However as a result of the great vibes rolled with their 12-7 start, the Cubs are 10-23, along with 11 losses of their closing 14 video video games.

And did we level out who’s coming to metropolis subsequent?

“Yeah, the Rays are the very best staff in baseball,” Smyly acknowledged, “and we’re going to take an prolonged (West Coast) journey after that. However you possibly can check out the schedule from proper right here on out and every workforce’s pretty good.

“I don’t suppose it issues who you play. You need to carry out. You need to do your job. And proper now we’re simply not doing it.”

That’s the issue. The bullpen hasn’t been good all season. The lineup has had large moments nonetheless often comes up empty inside the best situations. The rotation has begun to point cracks.

“Our margin for error shouldn’t be large,” $177 million shortstop Dansby Swanson acknowledged. “So we merely ought to do the little points increased than what we’re doing.

Witness Sunday’s fifth inning, which began with the ranking tied.

A five-week stretch of breakdowns that has appeared nearly laughable at situations went full slapstick for a half-inning. The Cubs allowed a stolen base on a routine pickoff throw, a foul pop-up to land harmlessly when first baseman Mancini collided with catcher Yan Gomes, and a runner to take third on one different Smyly pickoff try that bounced into coronary heart self-discipline.

All of which obtained right here two innings after third baseman Patrick Knowledge banged into Gomes as he caught one different foul pop near the plate — and which contributed to Smyly failing to complete the fifth.

It took all of three pitches for Smyly’s substitute, Jeremiah Estrada, to give up a two-out, go-ahead double. Estrada adopted by strolling the next two batters for another run sooner than Ross launched out his second hook of the inning.

“We’re not taking part in as much as our caliber. I feel everybody’s conscious of that,” acknowledged Knowledge, who snapped an 11-game homerless drought with two homers that drove in all 5 Cubs runs. “We nonetheless have lots of perception on this clubhouse.”

Stated Taillon: “I feel the items are positively there.”

The best question may very well be what variety of will doubtless be left after the commerce deadline.

Gordon Wittenmyer is a contract reporter for the Chicago Tribune.