Much of the talk over the last few weeks for the Chicago Cubs has been the performance of Jeff Samardzija on the mound, and the starts for Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro after sub-par seasons. It may be time to add Nate Schierholtz to that list.
After a breakout campaign last season, the Cubs were counting on Schierholtz to be a key component in the outfield this year. But the start to the season was nothing like what he hoped for.
As of late, Schierholtz has started to look more like the hitter he was last season. From the beginning, he knew the numbers he produced weren’t representative of him as a hitter. It just took longer than he expected to find his stroke.
"“I know I am a better player than I showed the first two months,” Schierholtz said. “That really wasn’t me. I knew I was going to come around, it just took longer than I hoped. I still have a lot of work two do the next four months.” h/t Bruce Levine"
Over the last seven games, he’s batting .316 (6-for-19), with a game-winning RBI single Tuesday night against the Mets. It’s not eye-popping, but after hitting .208 the first two months of the season, it’s a welcome change.
Showing the improved performance at the plate, the numbers can only benefit Schierholtz. Due to his contract status, and lack of expectations for the team this year, many expected him to be traded come next month’s trade deadline. But the slow start all but put those rumors to rest as interest in him dipped.
It’s no coincidence that his improvement at the plate correlates with the Cubs’ recent success. Chicago can’t rely on one player, and as of late, everyone has done their part to help the team on its recent win streak. How far the Cubs take these winning ways into June and July will also help to decide where Schierholtz finishes the 2014 campaign.