Chicago Cubs 2016: Top moments from the season

Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

July: A victory that righted the ship

The Chicago Cubs struggled in July. It was the only month in which they finished under .500 (12-14). They avoided something worse, however.

Early on in July, the Cubs were in the midst of their roughest part of the season. From late June through the All-Star break, they owned a record of 5-15. That brought things back down to planet Earth. Before then, there was talk about breaking the record for wins in a season (116).

There was one game, though, that stemmed the tide. On the Sunday before the All-Star break (July 10th), the Cubs faced the Pirates. The Cubs were in the middle of a five-game losing streak. Their huge division lead now stood at just 6-and-1/2 games.

A loss here would not only extend their losing streak but also keep their heads in a negative state. You cannot underestimate how much the power of the mind affects an athlete’s performance.

The Cubs got off to a good start, scoring two in the top of the first inning. The Pirates got to John Lackey, though, with three runs in the second inning. The Cubs owned a 5-4 lead until the Pirates tied the game against Strop. In the eighth, however, the Cubs took the lead again when Kris Bryant single to drive home Matt Szczur.

That victory allowed the Cubs to enjoy their All-Star break. They ended the losing streak, and perhaps exhale a bit and relax. That allowed them to come out of the break smoking once again. After starting out the month 1-8, they went 11-6 and got their momentum back.

The Cubs were rolling again, and that one victory right before the break probably helped them get there.