Reflections of June
And so, as the Cubs limp into July, we should all feel relieved at the outcome of June.
Remembering that the majority of the month was spent without the team's best-hitting outfielder, and that half the month was without the team's ace pitcher, and that a few days were spent with the sickly feeling that the team's best set-up man had lost it, and that there were a number of other minor, scary incidents...
When you consider all that, it's practically a miracle that the Cubs finished the month 15-12. And yet, we are - and we should be - more than a little disappointed that the Cubs didn't do a little better. It was within this team's grasp to have an epic June, injuries be damned, but that little 1-5 slide at the end of the month laid all those hopes to rest.
But what about July, you ask?
Well, let's give it a very quick overview. First and foremost - from all reports, Carlos will be back soon, and he seems healthy. Alfonso Soriano, meanwhile, hopes to be healed before the All Star Game, but he should be back by the middle of July at the latest. The team appears to be getting healthy again.
They play a grand total of 26 games this month. Of those 26 games, 16 are on the road. Of those 26 games, 17 are played against teams currently with winning records - St. Louis (3 on the road against), Arizona (3 on the road, but Az may be under .500 by then), Florida (the Cubs host them for 4, and they have an epic losing streak going against the Marlins - and all Florida teams - right now), and 4 in Milwaukee against the third place Brewers.
I submit that this won't be as tough a schedule as June's, but it's hardly going to be easy. The Cubs have been dinged up as of late, they are perhaps grateful to be playing the Reds, Astros, and Giants this month, but ultimately I have a very strong feeling that the Cubs are going to lay waste to a lot of these guys. Arizona is playing bad baseball right now, the Marlins aren't exactly magicians on the road, and the Brewers and Cardinals aren't going to necessarily be easy, but they should be fun, and this very well might be the month that a resurgent, healthy Cubs team really buries their rivals.
In the meantime, they're playing 3 more in San Francisco, against one of the worst teams in the game this year. After being pummelled by the Sox, it could be worse.