By: Alex Patt
Hello Chicago sports fans. If you are reading this article, chances are you are still reeling after what has transpired this weekend to the teams in the Windy City. Brutal losses, injuries and Mother Nature have been the themes of this weekend. Saturday and Sunday saw a combined 0-5 between the Bears, Cubs and White Sox and that is not even the whole story.
No doubt the biggest story of the weekend was the gut-wrenching 24-23 Bears loss to Green Bay after leading 20-0 at halftime. A game that looked like a glorious victory ended up in brutal defeat as once again, Aaron Rodgers does Aaron Rodgers things. On top of that the Cubs got rained out twice on days that should have seen those games be postponed well before hand while getting swept in the double header they played on Saturday,and White Sox phenom Michael Kopech tore his UCL and needs Tommy John surgery.
Not great….but, can we find some silver linings? Lets go team by team and try.
Okay this one really hurt bad. They failed to put the game away late and let Rodgers come back and win it. After a great first quarter from Mitch Trubisky and the offense, everything stalled. Khalil Mack was dominant in the first half with two takeaways, including a pick-6. But, veteran coach Mike McCarthy out-dueled Matt Nagy in the second half as his team adjusted and tore the secondary apart. Meanwhile the playcalling from the Bears coaching staff was very subpar and conservative…we’ve seen that before. Failing to convert on 3rd and 1 late while trying to throw it, and NOT using Jordan Howard who was having a great second half, had them settling for a field goal and being up only six. Kyle Fuller dropped what looked like an easy interception on the next drive and Rodgers finally found Randall Cobb for the game-winning touchdown. It was a so disheartening to watch.
Positives? Well, Khalil Mack looks like a beast and there is definitely talent on the team. It is hard when you are playing probably the most talented quarterback in history as a younger team. Jordan Howard, Akiem Hicks both looked very good and Allen Robinson looked good when targeted. This was Matt Nagy’s first game as a head coach, and hopefully they learn from it. They absolutely should have won this game, but at the very least there were some good things to see. Use this as a learning experience.
Losing their games to the Angels was not the story for them. Losses at this point do not matter for them. The devastating news was learning that young phenom Michael Kopech had suffered a UCL tear and will need Tommy John surgery. This means he will not pitch again until 2020. He clearly did not look right against the Detroit Tigers in his last start after the rain delay as his velocity was down and he got hit hard. What seemed like soreness for him ended up being much more serious.
Positives? Tommy John surgery is no longer a death sentence. In fact, many people say “Get TJ out of the way now” these days as many pitchers have it. Kopech will under-go this surgery at a young age and potentially come back even stronger. The plan for the Sox was contention by 2020, so while this sucks for the White Sox, it does not throw a whole lot off schedule. Luckily they have so much talent in their system that he does not make or break the rebuild. When he comes back, the Sox will likely be true contenders.
So their lead in the NL Central is down to 2.0 with a three-game set against the red-hot Brewers starting Monday night. It was a frustrating series in Milwaukee as they lost 2/3, but they had maintained a healthy 4.0 game lead. Friday and Sunday saw hours of unnecessary waiting around and no baseball, while getting swept in the DH Saturday. Milwaukee swept the Giants and are now breathing down the Cubs necks. Oh and Sunday’s game was scheduled to be made up on the one day the Cubs had a day off in weeks. The team looks gassed and they’ve had no rest time. The Brewers could potentially tie or even take over first place by Wednesday.
Positives? Well, this upcoming series will determine a lot for now. However the Cubs are still in decent shape to win the NL Central. They string some wins together, especially over the next three days, then they can create some separation again. Also, the Cubs chances of postseason today is 99.8% per MLB.com. Take that as you will because they likely want to avoid a Wild Card game at all costs, but chances are they will be playing October baseball baring an epic collapse. They just have to do what they do, simple as that.