15 July 2016

The Chicago Cubs and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month


1908 Chicago Cubs by George R Lawrence (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Compared to the soaring heights they attained in April and May, the Chicago Cubs of the past 30 days have seemed downright mortal. There were times when it seemed the 2016 Cubs were on pace to threaten their own regular season record of 116 wins, set 110 years ago. However, by the time baseball broke for the Midsummer Classic, the North Siders, while still very, very good, looked eminently beatable.

What is to blame for the Cubs' tumble from Olympus to the mundane realm of the other 29 teams? Is it truly poor performance? Bad luck? Reversion to their true talent level? Yes, yes and yes. The Cubs really have been subpar of late, although some metrics rate the team worse than others. The Cubs probably were not as good as their win rate, depending on what estimator one subscribes to. Finally, the Cubs' recent performance has sputtered due to abnormally bad luck.