On Aug. 7, the day I went on vacation, the Cubs defeated San Francisco for their second victory in a row. When I returned Saturday, they had just won their ninth in a row. On Sunday, they lost to the White Sox to end the streak.
Wait, you’re not suggesting … I think you are … more vacation time!
If 15 victories in a 16-game span was part of The Plan, as Theo Epstein’s strategy of building the club is reverently called, then this guy truly is the smartest guy in any room that includes Stephen Hawking. But I don’t think the Cubs president of baseball operations or anybody else saw this coming this fast.
I will not push for the team to acquire 36-year-old second baseman Chase Utley, whom the Phillies are shopping. Every time I suggest they need a veteran for a playoff push, they go on a winning streak. It happened when I bemoaned that ownership wasn’t all in on getting pitcher Cole Hamels.
I would love for the Cubs to do everything in their power to win a World Series this season, even if The Plan whispers “patience’’ ever so soothingly. I believe a healthy Utley would be an upgrade at second base over Starlin Castro, whose powers of concentration in the field resemble those of a toddler’s.
But Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell have earned the right to see if they can do this on their own. Kids, all of them. If the Cubs don’t make the playoffs this season, or if they lose early in the postseason, there will be plenty of time to second-guess the decision to stand pat.
But for now, let’s see how far talent, enthusiasm and a generous helping of oblivion can take them.