Cubs still nursing World Series hangover

Updated May 17, 2017 - 8:21 pm

A year after the Cubs opened the season with a sizzling 25-6 record en route to 103 wins and their first World Series title in 108 years, Chicago has been dead average.

Before the Cubs beat the Reds on Tuesday to even their record at 19-19, a 2-4 road trip had dropped them below .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2014. That led a reporter to ask team president Theo Epstein what it would take to send struggling leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber to the minors.

“If anyone wants to sell their Kyle Schwarber stock, we’re buying,” he told ESPN. “Right around this time last year we were 25-6, and I was getting asked nonsarcastic questions about how we were going to manage the push for the greatest record of all time versus resting guys for the playoffs, and I called B.S. on that, and now I’m getting asked if we’re going to send everyday guys down to Triple A … or if we’re going to consider selling. I call B.S. on that, too.”

Epstein also said “there’s no panic,” and Las Vegas oddsmakers and handicappers agree.

“Everything broke right for them last year. Their starting pitching from Game 1 to 162 last year was just awesome,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “Right now, their pitching isn’t dominant, and their offense isn’t going great, either. But usually in baseball, the cream rises after 162 games. I fully expect them to win their division.

“If I was a Cubs fan, I wouldn’t panic in the streets.”

The Cubs’ odds to win the World Series have moved to 6-1 — behind the Nationals (9-2) and Astros (9-2) — after they opened as the 7-2 favorite. Chicago also is now the third choice to win the National League pennant, at plus-275, behind the Nationals and Dodgers, who are both at plus-250. The Cubs are still minus-450 favorites to win the NL Central over the Cardinals, the plus-300 second choice.

“They’ll be fine. They’re going to be there in the end. They’ll probably win their division and play the Dodgers again in the NLCS,” said handicapper Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com). “It’s tough to repeat and keep that momentum going. They’re a great team, though. They definitely can do it.”

The 2000 Yankees were the last team to repeat as World Series champions, and the 1976 Reds, aka The Big Red Machine, were the last NL team to do so.

Chicago is 20th in the majors in batting, with a .239 team average, and is in the middle of the pack in runs.

Kris Bryant, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player from Las Vegas, is the only regular playing up to expectations, with a .299 average, seven homers and 19 RBIs. Schwarber, tabbed to replace Dexter Fowler in the leadoff spot, and cleanup hitter Anthony Rizzo each homered Tuesday but have struggled overall, with Schwarber batting .189 and Rizzo .221.

Jason Heyward is hitting .253, Javier Baez .228, Addison Russell .220 and Ben Zobrist .235.

Jake Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner, has lost velocity on his fastball and ranks 82nd in the majors in ERA (5.44) and 79th in WHIP (1.46).

“It’s just a little bit of a World Series hangover,” Caesars Palace sports book director Frank Kunovic said of the Cubs’ slow start. “They’re going to get their stuff together. There’s still a ton of baseball left to play.”

Not that oddsmakers would mind if Chicago continues to struggle.

“I love it as a bookmaker because they bet the Cubs every day,” Bogdanovich said.

In keeping with tradition, Kunovic said he’s written twice as many futures tickets on the Cubs as the next closest team, the Indians.

“Up until last year, that was our most profitable bet ever because we never paid off on it,” he said. “Now’s the time to bet the Cubs. The odds are the best they’ve been all year.”

More Betting: Follow all of our sports betting coverage online at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-266-6080. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL conference championships
Review-Journal sports betting columnist Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology sports book vice president Matt Holt preview the NFL’s conference championship games.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL divisional playoffs
Review-Journal sports betting columnist Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology sports book vice president Matt Holt preview the NFL divisional playoffs.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football National Championship
Review-Journal sports betting columnist Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology sports book vice president Matt Holt preview Monday’s college football national championship.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Wild Card playoffs
Review-Journal sports betting columnist Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology sports book vice president Matt Holt preview the NFL’s Wild Card playoff weekend.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 17
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt go over their picks for week 17 of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Bowls Week Three
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt go over their picks for week three of the college bowl games.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Bowls Week 2
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Bernie Fratto and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview the college football bowls.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 16
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Bernie Fratto and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 16 of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Bowl Edition
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Las Vegas Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over their picks for the college bowl games.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 15
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Las Vegas Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over their picks for week 15 of NFL football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 14
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and TI sports book director Tony Nevill preview NFL Week 14.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 13
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 13 of the NFL regular season. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 14
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 14 of the college football season. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 13
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt give their picks for week 13 of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 12
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt give their picks for week 12 of NFL football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 12
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Bob Scucci go over their picks for college football week 12.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 11
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Bob Scucci go over their picks for NFL football week 11.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 10
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt preview Week 10 of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 11
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt preview Week 11 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 10
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming Sports Book Director Bob Scucci preview Week 10 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 9
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming Sports Book Director Bob Scucci preview Week 9 of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 8
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 8 of the NFL season.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like