The Cubs will be tested throughout the month of May
The first month is in the books for the Chicago Cubs and it is safe to say that they are off to a great start. With a young team, a number of new key players, and a new manager, the Cubs have surprised most of the baseball world with how fast they were able to mesh together. A lot of that can be credited to their manager and his personality that relates well to young players.
Joe Maddon prepares his players as well as any manager in baseball. His staff thinks a lot like he does so the communication and teaching that goes from Maddon to his staff is relayed to the players quickly and accurately. I’m sure Maddon looks over every bit of information made available to him about every team.
The month of May is going to really test this young Cubs team. They will have several tough matchups against some of the best teams in baseball.
After this weekend’s series vs. The Brewers, the Cubs will travel to St. Louis for a four game series. St. Louis is off to their best start in 71 years with a 16-6 record going into Sunday. Matt Carpenter is a hitting machine so far this year with a .366 batting average and 3 homers on the season. Even without their best pitcher, they are still a dangerous team.
After the Cardinals, the Cubs will travel to Milwaukee for a rematch weekend series.
May 11-14 the Cubs will be back home for a four game series against the New York Mets. Just like the Cubs, the Mets are surprising the baseball world with a fantastic start. Leading the NL East with a 16-8 record starting Saturday’s game, the Mets are winning with both excellent pitching and hitting. Matt Harvey, who missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery, looks stronger than ever with a 5-0 record and a 2.41 ERA. It is expected that all-star third baseman David Wright will be back for the within the next week.
The Cubs stay at home to take on the Pirates after the Mets series. The two teams have played two separate series against each other with the Cubs leading the season matchup 4-3.
After the home stand, the Cubs will spend the next six days on a west coast trip. First the Cubs will start against the San Diego Padres. They played a three game set in April in Chicago with the Padres taking two out of the three games, but this is a different Cubs team right now that is playing at a very high level and are also very confident.
A weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks finishes this west coast trip. The D-Backs are 10-12 as of Saturday, landing them in the bottom of the NL West. Paul Goldschmidt is knocking the cover off the ball – with a .346 batting average, five home runs, and 20 RBI – he is again showing why he’s one of the best hitters in the National League. Their bats are solid, but their starting pitching doesn’t have anyone that really stands out to be trouble. Their right hander, Josh Collmenter right now is their best pitcher statistically with two wins and three losses, but holds a 2.76 ERA.
The Chicago Cubs finish off the month of May with two-three games series. The first series is against the underachieving Washington Nationals. The Nationals currently are 10-14 – a far cry for the team that most experts picked to win the National League if not the World Series. Bryce Harper is having a good start to the season – batting .275 with five home runs and 15 driven in. Their big offseason signing of Max Scherzer is not off to the kind of start he would like, but he hasn’t been getting the run support needed to win. With a 1-2 record, his ERA is an amazing 1.26 – with an ERA like that he should be 5-0 or better.
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The final series in an interleague matchup against the American League Champion Kansas City Royals. Heading into Saturday they are 16-7 – tied for the top record in the American League. The Royals are proving they are not a one year flash in the pan as they are rolling through the rest of the league. You can look at their hitting stats and you will not find anyone who isn’t having a good year – most having a great year. Mike Moustakas is leading the team with a .340 average – he is also tied with the team lead in homers with 3. This will be an exciting matchup to finish off the month of May.
To put a prediction or even an expectation of what the Cubs’ record could be ending the month is hard to say. You never know what injuries may creep up or what hitter may find them in the middle of a slump. But considering the level of competition the Cubs will face, if they could win 17 of the 29 games I think that would be an excellent month.