The Chicago Cubs have not been swept in the 2016 season. Today, the St. Louis Cardinals have the opportunity to change that at Wrigley Field, and doing so would mean so much.
The Chicago Cubs are almost unarguably the best team (currently) in the MLB. This statement shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. They have gone 47-22 to start off the season and polluted all of sports media with theories of them being one of the best teams to ever play the game. Although I don’t necessarily agree with this idea, there is no debating that the Chicago Cubs, mostly behind their superb pitching staff, have been red hot to start off the season. They sweep their fair share of series, and they certainly do not get swept often.
That’s why in a game filled with booms and busts, a sweep against the Cubs would mean so So SO much. Not only to this Cardinals team, but also to the Cubs and the rest of the MLB.
But to do so, the Cardinal’s must conquer a quest that is as hard as any: winning against Jake Arrieta.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 22, 2016
If the Cardinal’s are able to complete the sweep tomorrow night, the first thing it means is that the Cub’s ace, Jake Arrieta, is not safe against this Cardinal’s roster. Arrieta, in his last start against the Cardinals, gave up 4 ER in 5 IP. That is very non-Arrieta-esque. If Arrieta were to have a relatively bad outing against the Cardinals again, it would not only strike hesitation in the eyes of Arrieta moving forward, but continue to give the Cardinals team much needed confidence.
Even if Arrieta does have a good outing and the Cardinals still find a way to win, it would still mean a confidence boost for the Cardinals and a morale loss for the Cubs. It would mean that Michael Wacha had a solid outing, giving the team an opportunity to win in later innings. It would also mean another offensive comeback for a team that has already proven they can comeback.
Now lets look at the more Macroscopic implications of a sweep against the Cubs.
The Cardinals are currently 10.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. A win today still would mean a large deficit in the standings, but the season isn’t even halfway over. There’s still a lot more baseball to play. A 10.5 game deficit can become a 9.5 game deficit, which becomes a 5 game deficit, which puts a team right back into contention. Giving up on the team now is silly, especially because the Cardinals already hold one of the wild-card spots.
Additionally, a win would mean solidifying a streak of good outings by the Cardinal’s starting pitching. So far into the month of June, the starting pitching staff has posted a much improved 3.34 ERA, and in the past seven days a 2.83 ERA. With solid starting pitching, paired with a dangerous offense, who is to say that the Cardinals can’t catch up to the Cubs?
Photo Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports