Baseball fans are well aware of the fact the Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. That team from the North side with the iconic ballpark has not even been in the World Series since the year World War II ended.
So despite the fact the Cubs are off to one of the greatest starts in the history of Major League Baseball, a start that suggests they are destined to end the longest championship drought outside Leicester City, folks are holding off on getting too excited yet.
Chicago is 24-6 through 30 games. In the last 80 years only eight teams have started that well and four of those won it all. Over the weekend the Cubs played a 3-game set against the Washington Nationals, who had the 2nd-best record in the National League, and swept the Nats out of Wrigley Field.
The Cubs have already outscored their opponents by 102 runs, becoming the fastest team in MLB history to reach a triple-digit run differential. The Cubs have scored the most runs in baseball and allowed the fewest runs in baseball. That's a combination of pitching and hitting that is astonishingly dominant.
I tell you all this because on Monday the Cubs start a 3-game set at The Friendly Confines against the San Diego Padres. At 13-19 the Friars have the second-worst record in the National League so this series has the potential to be a bloodletting.
“They are running over everybody in baseball right now so we’re well aware of that,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “We’re well aware of that but the Mets were pretty hot when they came in here and we took two games from them to start the series from them. I don’t think we’re going to shy away from the competition. I think we’ll try to rise up and meet it.”
New York came to Petco Park winners of 10 of their last 12 games before dropping those two to the Friars and in baseball stranger things have certainly happened than San Diego taking a series in Chicago this week.
Padres outfielder Jon Jay knows better than most just how good the Cubs are. He spent the first six years of his career with the Cardinals, the Cubs’ biggest rivals. He saw the construction project on the shore of Lake Michigan and knew it was only a matter of time before it took baseball by storm.
“Oh, definitely,” said Jay. “You’ve seen the pieces here and there and what they were able to do last year; I saw that first-hand. They’ve got a good team over there but so do we so it’s going to be a fun series.”
The good news for the Padres is they don’t have to face Cubs ace and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta in the 3-game set. The bad news is Chicago still has a whole lot of accomplished arms to throw at them, starting with Jon Lester. The lefty is 3-1 with an ERA of 1.58 this season. He gets a look at Padres youngster Cesar Vargas, who has only allowed two earned runs in his first three career starts but is still looking for his first Big League win.