And no, I’m not talking about the Cubs, though they certainly cannot be happy about the loss, the number of runs they gave up, or the fact that they’ve now lost ten games in a row.
For the fifth time in his career, infielder Eric Sogard was called upon to pitch. The Cubs are so down bad right now that this is the third time Sogard has pitched in the last eight days. In fact, each of those five career appearances has come this season, as the Cubs have sunk to 42-43, 8 1/2 games out of first in the NL Central.
Former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who loves to live-tweet games and still works as a color-commentator for Phillies games, was not thrilled to see the Cubs go to Sogard when the game was still within seven runs for Chicago:
Personally, I find it more embarrassing that Sogard is an anti-vaxxer whose wife spreads harmful misinformation without any sort of medical training, but the Cubs waving the white flag in a seven-run game isn’t great, either.
Amaro makes a good point. There is no mercy rule in MLB, but if you’re on a losing streak as bad as the one the Cubs are mired in right now, you probably wish there was one. It’s one of the best and worst things about MLB; no matter what, teams are supposed to fight down to the final out.
Amaro’s point speaks to a bigger problem in MLB these days: the number of teams that are not competitive, year after year. The Phillies won this game, but haven’t been to the postseason since Amaro’s GM days in 2011. The Angels have Mike Trout, yet they have been an under-.500 team every season since 2016 (jury’s still out on this year). The Orioles, well, their records over the last few years speak for themselves.
Of course, not every year is going to be a World Series year, or even a Wild Card year, but some of the best teams in MLB history – looking at you, 2001 Mariners – never won the World Series. Baseball is better when as many teams as possible are competitive, rather than teams racing to out-tank each other to secure the best draft pick. Having multiple teams’ seasons practically be over before the All-Star break is bad for baseball.
At this point in the season, many of the struggling teams are anxiously awaiting the All-Star break, so they can rest and reset. After their tenth straight loss, the Cubs have to be near the top of this list.