Maybe it really is just a reload, not a rebuild.
Sure, it didn’t seem like that for the Chicago Cubs, who didn’t dare to even mention the word “rebuild” in the dugout this season as they began a three game series against the San Diego Padres Monday night, coming off of a five game losing streak. But taking two out of the three games against a solid National League opponent in the Padres certainly helped the front office regain confidence in their belief that they could contend this year.
As for Cubs fans, that faith in contending went up in flames right when Chicago traded away its three franchise players in Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Anthony Rizzo all within the same week last year.
If that isn’t a rebuild, I don’t know what is.
But sure enough, David Ross soothed the fans by using the word “reload”, ensuring that the Cubs were still going to be in contention this season. At this point, we know it was just propaganda to keep the bleachers full at Wrigley.
I digress though, as the stars were shining bright for Chicago this week, proving that the Cubs may not be that far out of the playoff picture as it stands.
Veteran Kyle Hendricks pitched a gem of a game for the opener of the series, going eight innings while striking out seven batters and only allowing three hits.
Partner this with Wilson Contreras’ success at the plate this series, (7-10 with a homer and two walks) and the Cubs managed to squeeze out their first series win on the road for the season.
The young talent couldn’t be missed this weekend for the newer Cubbies either, coming full circle with second year first baseman Alfonso Rivas’ game-winning single that scored two in the eighth inning of the third game against San Diego.
So maybe the combination of veteran talent combined with some of the new prospects, like Rivas, Nico Hoerner, and Seiya Suzuki could win a few more games than Cubs fans imagined. But the overall theme of inconsistency at the plate and the bullpen struggles could continue to haunt the Cubs this season on their quest to compete in the National League playoffs.
Since this IS a reload, not a rebuild, of course.
Charles Jaegle is the Sports Editor for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl