When the Cubs lost 5-0 in Atlanta on Tuesday night, it marked the fourth time already they’ve been shut out through 23 games this season — matching their season total for the pandemic-shortened 60-game season in 2020.
And even in that shortened season it didn’t happen the first time until their 44th game.
Their fourth consecutive loss also dropped them to three games under .500, assuring they will not finish April with a winning record as they try to play their way into strong enough position to avoid a clearance-sale selloff at the July trade deadline (No, Joc Pederson, that’s not four months away).
“I don’t think any of us feel like we’ve hit our strides,” veteran right fielder Jason Heyward said after Atlanta rookie Ian Anderson stifled the Cubs on one hit and a walk in a seven-inning start. “But I think it’s still early to be talking about any kind of stride.
“If anything we feel fortunate that we’re not 10 games out of first place right now.”
Four games out seems small consolation.
But as first baseman Anthony Rizzo, manager David Ross and Heyward have pointed out, it is early.
Which might not be the panacea they think it is, if the Brewers pitching is as real as it looks so far — and some of the Cubs’ isn’t.
“We also understand how quickly these things can change, in two days, three days, with the way our division is,” Heyward said.
Yeah, like how they won four straight games, thanks in large part to that three-game sweep of the Mets, only to follow that by losing four straight to the Brewers and in Atlanta.
Maybe Javy Báez (hamstring) and Kris Bryant (biceps) are back to full health within the next day or two to help the lineup — with Pederson (hand) not far behind.
Maybe Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies bounce back from slow starts to their seasons — and the Cubs actually join the other 29 teams and produce a seven-inning start.
For now, here are the five truths that April revealed about the Cubs:
(Yeah, we know there are three games left in the month, so save it. We don’t need three more games to know what we see.)
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