Sure, just what the struggling Cubs need: No real All-Star break

SHARE Sure, just what the struggling Cubs need: No real All-Star break

Cubs pitcher Jon Lester reacts after giving up one of the two home runs he allowed in the third inning against the Pirates at PNC Park on Saturday. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

There isn’t a team in baseball that needs the All-Star break more than the Cubs do. A club that has lost 15 of its last 21 can use the time to get away from the game, to recharge, to escape the intense media attention – basically, to seek the solitude that only four days off can provide.

Oh, wait.

The Cubs have seven All-Stars, including the entire starting infield for the National League. What seemed like such a great honor only a few weeks ago now seems like another heavy-legged step on what has been a slog.

It’s only one game, and it’s supposed to be fun, but to say the Cubs are scuffling would be an insult to scufflers everywhere. Before their 6-5 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday, they had lost five straight games.

Perhaps the time in San Diego will remind the seven Cubs how dominant they were in the early part of the season, when they started 25-6. Maybe they can take a look around the N.L. dugout and remember that they are there for a reason – because zealous Cubs fans had voted over and over again in All-Star balloting. OK, strike that. Maybe the Cubs can remember that they’re still pretty good.

At least Dexter Fowler won’t be playing. The centerfielder has been out since mid-June with a hamstring injury but had hoped to take part in Tuesday’s game. One minor-league rehab game Friday apparently told him he wasn’t ready yet. Smart thinking. The last thing the Cubs need is Fowler reinjuring himself in a mostly meaningless game.

Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester will arrive struggling – especially Lester, who in his last two starts has given up a total of 13 earned runs in a combined 4 1/3 innings of work. If Joe Maddon throws himself in front of Lester on the lefty’s way to the mound in San Diego, no one will be surprised.

The winner of the All-Star Game gets home-field advantage in the World Series, so the Cubs, despite their two-month funk (a 28-29 record since May 10), still have designs on playing in the Fall Classic. Maybe that will perk them up. Nothing else has.

Let’s call it a working vacation.

The Latest
Tyler Kolek had 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who moved into a tie with No. 13 Xavier atop the Big East.
Mayer tied his career high with five three-pointers and Jayden Epps added 13 points for the Fighting Illini, who have won six of their last seven.
Citting “the heinous actions of a few,” the police chief reversed an earlier position that she would keep the so-called Scorpion unit intact.
While coach Billy Donovan was still holding out hope that Ball’s left knee rehab really picks up, the reality of the situation was not good. “He’s nowhere near playing, he’s just not,’’ Donovan said on Saturday. He also pointed out that a decision could be reached on Ball’s season at the All-Star Break.
Despite the cold and snow, attendees in red sashes and rabbit ears enjoyed the festivities and wished each other a happy new year.