Cubs players are singing, ‘Stay, Cubs, stay’

To help keep the team intact, they must take advantage of an easy upcoming schedule with six games against the White Sox and Cardinals.

SHARE Cubs players are singing, ‘Stay, Cubs, stay’

Jameson Taillon got a standing ovation Sunday from the crowd at Wrigley Field. ‘‘That was really, really cool,’’ he said.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Jameson Taillon didn’t tip his cap or rev up the crowd, but as the Wrigley Field faithful showered him with a Sunday afternoon standing ovation, the feeling got its hooks into the big right-hander.

“Fans are into it here,” Taillon said. “Every game, packed house. Cubs-Cardinals, doesn’t get much better than that. That was really, really cool. Hopefully, there’s a lot more of that to come.”

Nobody pegged the Cubs as preseason World Series contenders. But for Taillon, Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, Marcus Stroman and other recent free-agent additions, the prospect of playing meaningful baseball down the stretch in one of the league’s most engaged atmospheres is the sort of thing you come to the North Side of Chicago for.

“I’ve been confident in [this team],” said Bellinger, in the midst of a hot streak that could make him a nine-figure player by the winter. “I see the talent. I’ve been around some good teams, been on some good teams. We’ve got the right guys in this clubhouse. I believe it.”

There has been a prevailing sense that the Cubs are — or at least should be — better than their 48-51 record, which makes selling at the trade deadline look like a sober course of action.

Even scouts from rival teams monitoring the Cubs for their own upgrades have questioned the team. Are the Cubs good enough and close enough to the Reds and Brewers to make it a wise choice to stay the course?

It’s a lot easier to buy in after five wins in six games, and there have been some memorable results. There just need to be a lot more.

“I think you’re just starting to see the best version of us,” manager David Ross said. “We’re all in this together. Jed [Hoyer]’s watching. It’s a result-based industry we’re in. We’ve got to win games. The more we can do that, the more I’m sure the front office has confidence.”

As Ross alluded to over the weekend, the Cubs are positioned to act upon that belief in the last two months. They have the eighth-softest strength of schedule going forward. Of course, the Brewers have the seventh, but six games coming up against the woeful White Sox and Cardinals represent a big opportunity to vault back to .500.

“I think [.500] is a good number,” Bellinger said. “But I don’t think there’s maybe a certain number we have to get to. I think this was a good series, and we can roll. Off day [Monday], come back and feel fresh. A lot of baseball left to be played.”

There is a lot, but this week is the final stretch for Cubs players to weigh in on just whom they should be playing with. After doubling home the last run of the Cubs’ 7-2 victory Sunday, Trey Mancini made it overt, saying the series win was more meaningful because it carried the potential to keep teammates from leaving.

Other Cubs demurred, not wanting to “overcook” their mental approach to six games out of 162, but the desired outcome is the same.

“I would love to keep playing with those guys, but I don’t know what [the front-office people] have in store, what plans they have,” Taillon said of trade rumors. “We’ve had a few guys on the IL that are back and healthy, so I feel like that’s important. It could also be guys are comfortable with their roles and where they’re at.”

And the only way to keep things comfortable is to keep winning.

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