Is glass half-empty or half-full for Cubs entering MLB All-Star break?

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It probably shouldn't come down to the semantics of one game, but the Chicago Cubs were that close to finishing the first half on a positive note after a miserable stretch of baseball. After winning consecutive games on Thursday and Saturday for the first time since June 23-24, it was too much to ask for a third straight victory. That hasn't happened since the beginning of last month. Instead, they fell to the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Sunday, completing their pre-All-Star break schedule in maddening jerseys cheap wholesale

Somehow, the Cubs went 22-28 over their past 50 games, yet they find themselves in first place in the National League Central heading into the annual midsummer break. Thanks to a division full of teams that keep beating up on each other, every team can claim a realistic shot at taking the title at the end of September. But no matter the standings, playing six games under .500 for nearly a third of the season is concerning, to say the least.

"We're in a decent spot right now and haven't come close to playing our best baseball," manager Joe Maddon said before Sunday's loss. "You're going to see a better brand of all this in the second half."5

That's music to the ears to Cubs fans because what they've seen lately is anything but a "better brand." Maddon's team has played "sloppy," a word team president Theo Epstein used as recently as Saturday. Some stats back up that description, as the Cubs lead MLB in outs made on the base paths (excluding pickoffs and caught stealing) while compiling the second-worst fielding percentage in the National League. Add their 13th-ranked offense in the NL with runners in scoring position, and you start to see why many believe that the glass isn't very full. And why watching them has indeed been maddening.wholesale nfl jerseys cheap

"I don't think what we've done in the first half is going to be good enough," All-Star Kris Bryant said rather casually due to the obvious nature of the statement. "We're just as greedy as any fan out there. We want to be 10 games ahead. There's a lot more breathing room, but it just hasn't gone that way for us this year. First place is great, but we've missed a lot of opportunities to separate ourselves. That's the frustrating part. We just have to play better. I know we can do it."

Fortunately, the Cubs don't have to beat out the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers to win their division. That's where the glass-half-full fans get their say: Despite all the shortcomings, the Cubs are in first place.

"It's a cannibalistic kind of a division," Maddon said.

With 4.5 games separating top from the bottom, it would be hard to argue against Maddon's assessment of the NL Central. According to Elias, the only division with fewer games separating first and last place at the All-Star break was the American League West in 2006. And it had only four teams.

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