June 24, 2018

These Cubs Are Finally Who We Thought They Were

The Cubs are finally who we thought they were. It took some time but things are finally starting to gel.

Much like last season the Cubs got off to a below average to average start. The offense was fluttering. Anthony Rizzo was hitting below .200, they were striking out at an alarming rate and they just couldn’t put together enough offense to win games they should have. That was two months ago.

Fast forward to June. The Cubs are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. Anthony Rizzo has turned his season around after a slow start. Jason Heyward may actually have his bat working consistently for the first time in his Cubs career. Kris Bryant continues to be Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez is starting to push his name into the focus of MLB stardom. Currently Javier Baez is fourth in the National League with 14 home runs, tied for fourth in the NL with Anthony Rizzo with 46 RBI’s. The Cubs currently have the 5th best offense in the majors. Batting a team average .261, 67 home runs and 303 RBI’s.

Not only has the offense turned around, but Jon Lester and the starting rotation continues to improve week by week. In the Months of April and May Lester’s ERA was hovering around 2.71, by all accounts is not bad at all. To start the month of June, Lester has pitched two straight shutout games and has lowered his ERA to 2.22, which is good for fourth in the National League. Jose Quintana has been solid all season, Kyle Hendricks has had a few rough outings but can usually get you solid innings pitched. The wildcards will be a healthy Yu Darvish who we are just waiting on at this point and a walk happy Tyler Chatwood. If those two pitchers can turn it on, the Cubs will be tougher to beat than they already are. As team, the Cubs have the second best ERA in MLB at 3.18, right behind the Houston Astros. The Cubs bullpen has been outstanding and has carried the Cubs most of the way through the first half. My hope is to see the previously mentioned starters going deeper into games to stretch this group out a bit more.

After the Cubs and Pirates game on Saturday, Jon Lester was quoted saying “We’re back to 2016”. I think I would have to agree. This Cubs team finds ways to win, much like 2016. They tend to never be out of a ball game, case and point on June 6th when Jason Heyward hit a walk off grand slam to beat the Phillies. Or Monday night, the Cubs never led against the Brewers until the 11th inning when they poured on 5 runs to ultimately win. Currently the Cubs are .5 behind the Brewers, though I don’t think that will be a worry come seasons end.

Slow starts and early frustrations aside, these Cubs are who we thought they were going to be and now we best just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Matthias Schwartzkopf
Matthias Schwartzkopf 9 Articles
Staff Writer

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