Chicago Cubs: Is it time to start drinking the blue kool-aid?


If you aren’t drinking it yet, it might be time you did

The Chicago Cubs spent big money on

Jon Lester

–and he’s been the biggest disappointment in the rotation.

Kris Bryant

was called up but hasn’t hit a home run yet. And one of the better relievers statistically in the bullpen?

Edwin Jackson

. So how is this team not terrible? Because skipper

Joe Maddon

makes it about the team, not individuals.

Clearly, all those points to a Cubs’ fan carry differently. Bryant has been as expected, just without the power. Lester struggled out of the gate but has improved, and the bullpen has been up and down–but Jackson really has performed well. I know, I can’t believe it either. But still, the Cubs finished the month of April at 12-8, just two games behind the Cardinals. So can they really make a push this year? Was all the talk less nonsense than we thought?

Go ahead, put that second cup of sugar in, let’s be the house that all the kids want to drink the kool-aid from.

Anthony Rizzo seems damned determined to keep his promise of winning the division. So much so he’ll get on base every time, no matter what it takes. Hit by pitch, walk, whatever. And he’ll steal a few bases just to be sure he gets in scoring position. Had I told you he was tied for the team lead, first thoughts? Probably that we aren’t a running team, but it’s exactly the opposite. Maddon runs with everybody. Different counts, different situations. I’ve never seen the Cubs go first to third on hits so often in all my life. Constantly in motion, forcing the opposition to make plays. Past Cubs teams were “get a hit, hope someone goes yard”. Not the case anymore.

And the Cubs shortstop has become a monster defender. Did they trade Starlin Castro? No, he’s simply bought into Maddon’s talk that he can be Gold Glove caliber (I mean, I thought Joe was crazy, didn’t you?). He’s still made a few errors, but none have been the result of “airhead” plays or not being involved. He’s being aggressive, attacking the ball and looking like he wants to stay there.

Start stirring it up, get all that sugar dissolved. This is going to be some good stuff.

The three catcher system has worked just fine. Miguel Montero has been as advertised behind the plate, and while the average isn’t eye-popping, he’s had clutch hits. Welington Castillo has looked good off the bench and in spot starts, and for what David Ross lacks at the plate–he makes up for behind it. The man can still sling it. Who would have thought, three catchers on the roster for a month and it’s working?

Grab yourself a big glass. No, the BIG one. Yep, that’s the one.

The bullpen has had a few questionable moments. Untouchable to start, then terrible, untouchable again, and then some struggles against the Pirates on Wednesday. Bot they have actually performed admirably, and several of the faces in the pen have been there because of injury. Brian Schlitter become somewhat hated in his time up this year, but it was injuries that forced that move. Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez are the two the Cubs will look for to be in these “high-leverage” spots. And James Russell or Tsuyoshi Wada could become the other lefty out of the pen to compliment Zac Rosscup who has looked very strong early on.

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Drink it down. Sooo delicious.

Okay, so it’s only been a month. But a 12-8 record in April is something to get excited about. It’s not built on guys playing out of their minds. Rookies doing something they can’t expected to do all season (Yes, I believe Bryant will do what he’s doing all season..and more), or pitchers exceeding expectations. If anything, there are several Cubs right now that are underachieving. I’ve been drinking the blue kool-aid for years. No reason to stop now. You should have some too.

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