The Chicago Cubs “Chi-town Express” rolls on with their defeat of the Washington Nationals, 8-6, on Friday afternoon. It was the Cubs fifth consecutive win.
On Thursday, Ben Zobrist drove in four runs, two of them courtesy of a two-run blast in the eighth inning. On Friday, the Cubs hit four home runs, two of them by the hot-hitting Zobrist who has three homers in the last three games.
They beat the Nats again and are now 22-6 and are threatening to run away with the National League Central Division, in May. This is the best start for the Cubs since 1907, which incidentally, was before I was born. In fact, it was before my parents were born. This start has Cubs fans just about in a state of wonderment. How could a team be this good? A Chicago Cubs team?
The facts bear it out. First, Cubs starting pitching has almost been lights out. The team’s ERA is 2.32. Jake Arrieta (6-0) has been almost unhittable. In fact, in one game, he was unhittable, throwing a no-hitter against the Reds. His ERA for the young season is .084.
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He’s been the most dominant pitcher in the majors since last summer when he threw his first no-hitter against the LA Dodgers. Jason Hammel’s ERA is 1.24, and he is the fourth pitcher in rotation. Jon Lester is having a terrific year so far, going deep into games, and his ERA is 1.58.
The weather has been chilly in Chicago. But the hitters are warming to the oncoming of spring. Kris Bryant is working on an 11 game hitting streak. Anthony Rizzo seems to drive in a run almost every game. He now has 28 for the season. Dexter Fowler is getting on base and hitting .348 and he is the lead-off man.
This is not the Cubs of my youth when you’d go to a home game and have the three or four seats in either direction to yourself. People would go to the game on a nice summer day and try to get some sun.
Hardly anyone went to Cubs games, not until manager Leo Durocher arrived and the team starting winning. Yet, we all know what happened in 1969. Tom Seaver and the miracle Mets blew by the Cubbies in September of that year, and it is still a stinging memory.
It doesn’t look like anyone is going to blow by the Cubs, so far. The Cubs are doing the dominating. It is fun to watch, but I’m not used to it. These Cubs remind me of the NY Yankees who always used to beat up on any team, with their ace Whitey Ford, and Mickey Mantle and other assorted all-star caliber players.
The Cubs are 22-6 so far and we are only in May. I’ve seen some Cubs teams win 60+ games for the season. But this is a new era, a new team, with Joe Maddon as manager, one of the brightest minds in the game.
The Cubs are making franchise history and it’s pretty cool to see it happen.