An unusual road trip for the Cubs presents a familiar challenge in 2019
SAN FRANCISCO – A look at the path of the Cubs’ upcoming nine-game road trip is a bit baffling. If you look at their record on the road the season, the feeling is about the same.
A scan through the National League standings shows the team currently sits atop the National League Central division with a two-game lead over the Brewers. That’s not a surprise, and neither is the Cubs’ struggles on the road, which are well documented.
But their record is not good. Frankly, it’s bad.
Currently, the Cubs are 18-37 on the road, which is tied for the fewest wins in all of the National League. The Miami Marlins, who coincidently play on the road in Chicago against the White Sox on Monday, are the other team in the league with just 18 victories away from home. Yet they sit at 36-61 and 22 games behind the Braves for first place in the NL East as they continue another rebuilding season.
Only two teams in the American League teams – the Orioles (15) and the Royals (16) – have fewer wins on the road.
It’s a bit baffling for Joe Maddon’s club, which posted over-.500 road record in each of his four seasons in Chicago. In 2017 and 2018, the Cubs went 44-37 with the team a few games better in 2016 at 46-34. The best record for the Cubs on the road under Maddon came in his first season when they went 48-33 away from Wrigley Field.
Now the team has to try to stop this recent run of bad luck on the road with an unusual road trip that starts out West against the Giants in San Francisco, then has the Cubs returning home with an off day on Thursday in Chicago. Then they’ll make the short trip to Milwaukee for a three-game set against the Brewers before another day off in either Chicago or St. Louis before starting a three-game series with the Cardinals on July 30th.
“It’s an interesting trip, no question,” said Maddon of the next week-and-a-half. “Obviously at home we’ve won, now we’ve got to start playing that same game on the road, it’s a simple as that. To get where we want to go we have to become that road team that we’ve been in the past and there is no reason why we can’t.
“Yeah, three tough stops with stops in Chicago along the way.”
At least the Cubs enter this unusual stretch with some momentum after a 7-2 homestand to begin the second half. Maybe that will be enough to turn the bad fortune away from home into good, because it hasn’t so far.
“We’re just trying to keep that momentum going on the road,” said pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who said the rest during All-Star break helped for a quick start to the second half. “Just not think about where we are, just kinda embrace it, keep playing the same baseball.”