The Chicago Cubs can't hit, but you knew that already

Might things turn around? Yeah, sure. The 22 Clark bus might spin around the block and pick you up next time you miss it, too.

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Dansby Swanson

The Cubs’ Dansby Swanson takes a mighty rip — and misses.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Man, if only Cubs hitters could get a few more of those balls to drop in crucial situations.

If only so many towering flies wouldn’t tease and then torment us by dying in the glove of an outfielder a step or two in front of the wall.

If only the Cubs could turn around their heartbreaking habit of losing one-run games.

If only … wait a minute.

There’s no sense whining about the Cubs’ bad luck. That’s because they’re not having bad luck at all. This — a thoroughly unsatisfying 34-38 team to date, one that can’t hit to save its life — is just the reality of what the 2024 Cubs are.

Might it turn around? Yeah, sure. The 22 Clark bus might spin around the block and pick you up next time you miss it, too.

It didn’t feel good to see the Cubs lose 2-1 Sunday at Wrigley Field as Patrick Wisdom’s bid for a game-winning home run was caught by the Cardinals’ Brendan Donovan tantalizingly close to the basket, but it was perfect. It was everything about this feeble, fruitless offense in one play.

It was another fly ball without enough giddyup — even with the wind blowing out — for a team that ranks toward the top of the majors in percentage of fly balls hit but in the lower half in home runs. That, folks, is one dreaded combo.

It was the final failure with a runner in scoring position on a 2-for-10 day in that department, par for the course for a team that’s dead last in the National League in RISP situations and better than only the White Sox and A’s in all of baseball. That’s like finishing third-to-last in a 100-meter dash, just ahead of the banana slug and your dear Aunt Dotty.

It was a 16th one-run loss, the most in baseball, for a team that has played 29 one-run games, also the most in baseball. That isn’t a trend that says the Cubs are close to being good. It’s a trend that says they’re not good enough to ever win comfortably, as teams with real postseason hopes often do. If not for the Cubs’ strong pitching rotation, imagine how awful their record would be.

And it left the Cubs with yet another series loss and yet another loss inside what would be — if they had an offensive pulse — a winnable NL Central. The Cubs have lost nine of their last 10 series and are 9-17 in the division, including 1-4 against the rival Cardinals.

On Father’s Day, did that make the Cardinals the Cubs’ daddy?

OK, that was a swing and a miss. I’ll withdraw the question.

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Three-dot dash

AT LEAST DAVID ROSS isn’t around anymore, right? If he were, the Cubs might not be doing so hot.

DID SOMEBODY ASK about the White Sox’ division record? It’s 5-19. When your team’s division winning percentage (.208) is lower than its worst-in-baseball batting average (.219), it tends not to be a particularly good thing. …

Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. during a 96-91 overtime loss at Northwestern.

Terrence Shannon Jr. #0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini looks on against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second half at Welsh-Ryan Arena on January 24, 2024 in Evanston, Illinois.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

AFTER A KANSAS JURY found Terrence Shannon Jr., the former Illinois men’s basketball star, not guilty of a rape charge, one hopes there are opposing fans — many of them students — around Big Ten country who are having second thoughts about the chants and taunts they directed at Shannon over the last couple of months of the season.

And by having second thoughts I mean slapping themselves upside the head, ideally.

What is it with people? Is their fear of missing out so strong that they can’t sit out a chant — or leave their ill-founded opinion out of the social-media cesspool — even when they can’t possibly know if the assumption they’ve made is correct?

No better are those who blame and besmirch an alleged victim when they don’t have any damn idea what happened or didn’t happen. The Shannon verdict doesn’t vindicate that grotesque behavior.

THE SKY’S ANGEL REESE received instant and widespread abuse online Sunday after being charged with a flagrant foul for knocking Caitlin Clark in the side of her head in the Fever’s 91-83 win. But Reese called it “just a basketball play,” and that’s what it looked like to me, too. Give her a break for this one. …

ON THE OTHER HAND, the Sky’s Teresa Weatherspoon deserves criticism for her behavior after Friday’s 83-31 loss to the lowly Mystics. The first-year coach harumphed at a perfectly reasonable question she didn’t appreciate and abruptly walked out of a press conference without answering it. That’s unprofessional and should be embarrassing — especially since the question was about possibly changing the starting lineup, which is exactly what Weatherspoon ended up doing two days later.

IS SHOTA IMANAGA the best “Mike” in Cubs history? Among pitchers, he just might be. Mike Bielecki … Mike Harkey … Mike Krukow … Mike Montgomery … Mike Morgan … Mike Remlinger. I went through the whole stinkin’ all-time roster alphabetically — the Michaels, too — and it’s not like he’s up against a bunch of Cy Young winners here. Or any of them, for that matter.

Look, if Imanaga can do something as inane as nicknaming himself Mike, the least I can do is some inane research on the subject.

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