CHICAGO – One could describe the situation as quite “cloudy” around Wrigley Field, especially when it comes to the future of the Cubs.
An 11-game losing streak and 12 losses in their last 13 games have dropped the Cubs from contenders for the National League Central division title into underdogs. They entered Friday 9 1/2 games behind the Brewers for the top spot while also eight games behind in the race for the last NL Wild Card spot.
It’s seemingly taken the team from buyers at the trade deadline to sellers, with a number of their core players in the final years of their contract possibly heading elsewhere before July 31st. Certainly, it’s not like it was the last time the Cardinals visited Wrigley Field July 11-13th, when the Cubs were in first place and eyeing contention into the fall.
While those clouds about their future didn’t lift on Friday, their luck on the field did on a sun-soaked afternoon at Wrigley Field. For a few hours, they took out some of those thoughts of the future for a little joy at the moment.
From offense to the pitching staff, sans a rough ninth inning, the team was at their best against St. Louis in a 10-5 victory at the “Friendly Confines.” In a departure from the last few weeks, the Cubs had plenty of offense to support their pitchers as they picked up just the second win in their last 14 games.
Joc Pederson’s three-run double in the first set the tone early and in the seventh, the Cubs blew it open thanks to Kris Bryant. Off the bench as a pinch-hitter after not starting due to hamstring tightness over the last few days, the third baseman knocked a pitch off the ivy with the bases loaded to drive in a trio of runs.
Patrick Wisdom’s 12th homer of the year completed the five-run frame that would give the Cubs all the runs they’d need.
Kyle Hendricks was also looking like his old self as he pitched into the seventh while allowing just one run while scattering seven hits. It continues a strong stretch for the pitcher who is 9-0 since May 16th and came into the game with a 2.53 ERA in that stretch, and only lowered it on Friday.
Ryan Tepera, Dan Winkler, and Andrew Chafin kept St. Louis off the board in the seventh and eighth innings before Kyle Ryan had a rocky ninth inning. He allowed three runs but eventually shut the door on a victory over the Cardinals, which is the fourth for the Cubs at Wrigley Field over their rivals this year.
It might not be enough to clear up their future as the trade deadline nears, but for one Friday afternoon, this current group of Cubs got to enjoy their day in the sun.