Column: Chicago Cubs need to rebound from 2 straight blown leads with time running out in the wild-card race

It was merely a coincidence the tune “Loser” performed over the audio system within the guests clubhouse at Truist Park on Wednesday afternoon, a day after the Chicago Cubs’ heartbreaking loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Someone simply preferred the catchy ’90s tune and put it on the playlist.

The Cubs had no selection however to choose up the items from a sport misplaced Tuesday evening after Seiya Suzuki’s gaffe in proper discipline, a second that conjured one of many best examples of the so-called Cubs curse — Brant Brown’s dropped fly ball through the last days of the 1998 wild-card chase.

But they fell aside on the seams for a second straight evening, blowing leads within the eighth, ninth and tenth innings in a heartbreaking 6-5, 10-inning loss. Ozzie Albies’ run-scoring single off Daniel Palencia was the deadly blow.

“It’s just a relentless lineup,” middle fielder Cody Bellinger mentioned. “We know we’ve played baseball and came out on the short end of it twice. But we’re staying competitive and playing good baseball ourselves. We’ve just got to keep on rolling.”

The Cubs loss, coupled with the Miami Marlins cut up in a doubleheader with the New York Mets, left them tied for the third National League wild-card spot with 4 video games left. With no tiebreaker sport, the Cubs want to complete forward of the Marlins to get into the postseason.

Manager David Ross mentioned earlier than the sport they only play by the principles.

“Well, that’s just what it is,” he mentioned. “Should’ve beat them during the season, right? Rules are rules. I don’t make them.”

It may look like every thing that might go improper has for the Cubs, however President Jed Hoyer identified earlier than the sport there was no curse in Boston or with the Cubs. He was beneath the impression followers had moved previous these sorts of moments after they gained the World Series in 2016.

“Ultimately I would hope that the real benefit of ‘16 is people believing good things can happen,” he mentioned. “If we’re adequate we’ll win. The supernatural will not be inflicting missed fly balls to Brant Brown and Seiya Suzuki. What I realized in Boston and realized right here is that if the staff is sweet sufficient and will get the breaks on the proper second, you may win and so can we. I don’t even take into consideration that stuff.

“When I heard about (comparisons with Brown’s dropped fly ball) I kind of laughed. I was like, ‘Oh, man, I thought we graduated from that.’ Apparently not.”

As Hoyer spoke I seen his hair appeared slightly grayer than final week in Chicago after I had requested his response to the crushing 13-inning loss on Sept. 16 in Arizona.

Hoyer, 49, ran his fingers by means of his hair and mentioned he hoped for a “total gray” look.

“At this point, it’s like ‘go for it,’ he said. “So maybe it’s a good thing.”

“Go for it” is pretty much as good a motto as any for the Cubs as they enter the ultimate days of the common season. This roller-coaster trip has been robust on everybody, together with the man who put the staff collectively.

Every week appears to convey one other heartbreaking loss that might imply the tip of their postseason desires. And each week they reside to combat once more.

But time is operating out, and if the Cubs don’t make it to the postseason, Suzuki’s error may turn out to be as notorious as Brown’s drop in ’98 and Don Young’s botched fly ball in 1969.

Wednesday’s sport featured extra gut-wrenching moments. Nico Hoerner’s errant throw on a possible double-play grounder introduced dwelling a run within the seventh. Yan Gomes made a wild throw within the eighth that appeared geared toward shortstop as a substitute of second base. Mark Leiter Jr. served up a game-tying dwelling run to Marcell Ozuna within the ninth earlier than Pete Crow-Armstrong made an ill-advised diving catch try that turned a single right into a double.

Ross didn’t must do something rash like name a gathering to inform gamers every thing was OK. He spoke with Suzuki and others individually to remind them to maintain their heads up.

“Just check the pulse of certain guys, and everybody seemed to be in a good space,” he mentioned, together with Suzuki, who went 0-for-4 with a stroll.

There was no time for anybody to really feel sorry for themselves even when they wished to sulk. Dansby Swanson mentioned the Cubs have proven repeatedly {that a} single loss, irrespective of how crushing, doesn’t carry over to the subsequent day.

“One thing that we’ve done so well all year is the ability to bounce back and face adversity,” he mentioned earlier than Wednesday’s sport. “(Tuesday) evening was simply one other instance, and we’ve got one other alternative in the present day to come back again and carry out how we’re succesful. It stings, clearly, the way it ended. But a favourite coach of mine at all times mentioned: ‘Life is about 10% what you do and 90% how you respond.’

”We’ve embodied that this complete season. Anything and every thing that’s occurred, you simply discover a method to be higher the subsequent day. Every day you’re simply grateful for the choice to go at it once more.”

As Suzuki strolled to the plate within the second inning, the Braves organist performed the tune “Bad Day,” an ode to optimistic considering that features the lyrics: “You had a bad day, the camera don’t lie, you’re coming back down and you really don’t mind.”

Of course, overcoming a loss equivalent to Tuesday’s is simpler mentioned than finished, particularly at this level of the season.

The Cubs repeatedly level to their resiliency after being 10 video games beneath .500 on June 8 and climbing again into rivalry. Ross has been the chief of the group by means of the challenges however continues to be raked over the coals on social media and discuss radio for technique.

“I don’t read it and listen to it,” Hoyer mentioned. “Hopefully he doesn’t either. That’s the nature of that job, right? I was on the radio today and they asked me six questions about last night’s game. I was like, none of the six would’ve been asked if we had won.”

The good issues which have occurred in 2023 — from Bellinger’s comeback to Adbert Alzolay’s emergence as nearer — typically have taken a again seat to the unhealthy issues, equivalent to blown leads and an absence of clutch hitting. Several Cubs identified that Suzuki carried the staff in August and September, and one error can’t erase the positives of his season.

“I’ve been on this side of it and the other side of it in postseason games,” Bellinger mentioned. “The only thing you can is just wake up and do it all over again and rely on the guys around us. Today, after a tough one yesterday, there’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to go out and compete and give it our best shot.”