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Chicago Cubs: Starting rotation off to hot start…at the plate

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Jul 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) celebrates with starting pitcher Jon Lester (R) at home plate after scoring a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) celebrates with starting pitcher Jon Lester (R) at home plate after scoring a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs pitching staff is raking against opposing pitching through five games this season

The Chicago Cubs have a 3-2 record through their first five games this season after winning 11-6 over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday. Even after the offensive outburst on Saturday, some of the Cubs biggest names do not have good batting averages.

Kyle Schwarber is hitting .190, Kris Bryant is hitting .182, Anthony Rizzo is hitting .200, Ben Zobrist is hitting .188, and Javier Baez is hitting .214. Now, we all know this is a small sample size, but most Cubs fans were expecting the offense to explode right out of the gate. So far, that has not been the case.

Instead, however, the Cubs have got a solid effort at the plate from an unlikely source. The pitching staff.

Jake being Jake

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Going into the 2017 season, everyone knew that Jake Arrieta could hit. Arrieta hit two home runs in 2016, and more recently, a 465-foot home run off Zack Greinke in Spring Training. He averaged .262 in 2016, and got off to a hot start in 2017 by going 1-for-2 on Tuesday against the St, Louis Cardinals.

While everyone has come to expect Arrieta to be dangerous at the plate, opposing pitchers were not counting on the entire Cubs pitching staff to be tough outs.

Lackey is batting 1.000

Following Arrieta’s performance on Tuesday, John Lackey got his shot to prove he can swing the stick. The career .114 hitter went 2-for-2 against the Cardinals. Combine that with the fact that he tossed six innings of solid baseball, and you have a recipe for success.

The Cubs dropped their next game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in 11 innings. In that game, the Cubs got a more traditional game from a pitcher at the plate. Brett Anderson fanned in both of his at-bats as the Cubs lost 2-1.

Kyle Hendricks keeping the hot streak alive

At the beginning of play on Saturday, the Cubs pitching staff was batting .385. Last year’s ERA champion, Kyle Hendricks would only make that statistic increase.

Hendricks would go 2-for-3 on the night, pushing the rotation to 5-for-11 on the season. The 27-year-old right-hander would also score a run on a Kris Bryant single in the fourth. Later, in the fifth, Hendricks recorded an infield single that scored Addison Russell to put the Cubs up 5-4. From there, the Cubs would never look back as the offense came alive for the first time in 2017.

Continuing success

Currently, the Cubs pitchers are hitting .455 with one RBI between them. Everyone has had a turn in the rotation so far this season. Arrieta will be the first to make his second start of the season. He will get the ball on Sunday in Milwaukee.

Arrieta will be looking to continue the rotation’s success at the plate this season. It will be just about impossible for this group of pitchers to keep this hot streak alive for an entire season. Right now, the pitchers are helping to pick up some of the slack created by the lack of production from the top four in the Cubs lineup. That production picked up on Saturday, and many Cubs fans hope the offense can get fired up and get back to its’ 2016 ways.

Next: Chicago Cubs: There is no need to worry about a struggling Kris Bryant

If this Cubs pitching staff can make themselves into something to fear at the plate in 2017, watch out because that means the Cubs lineup is intimidating from top to bottom even more than it is now.

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