Three months into the season, the Chicago Cubs are lucky to be where they stand despite an inconsistent start.
The Chicago Cubs have not endured the start that many expected; regardless, the team should feel fortunate to be just 1/2 game out of first place.
If the Cubs were in the NL East, they would be seven games out of first place; if they were in the NL West, they would be 7 1/2 games back. While there are many games left, the first place Milwaukee Brewers have the lowest winning percentage amongst division leaders (.519).
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
Instead of being numerous games back, the Cubs are on the cusp of first place with an mediocre 38-36 record. Realistically, the team is lucky to be even two games above .500; in just three months, they have faced numerous injuries and struggles from key players yet have managed to stay afloat.
Because of their depth, it can be easy to overlook scenarios where key Cubs players are inactive. Although several starters are out, Bleacher Nation noted how it does not feel like the Cubs are decimated by injuries.
Currently, the Cubs are without Kyle Hendricks, Brett Anderson (or a true fifth starter in general), Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist. Most (if not all) of the other 29 MLB teams would be in a bind if faced with a similar problem.
Next man up mentality has benefited Cubs
This season, the Cubs have continuously called upon different players to step up and contribute right away. The Cubs called up Ian Happ when Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist were dealing with various ailments. One month later, Happ has 10 home runs in 37 games.
When Anderson landed on the 60-day DL due to a back injury, the team promoted 26-year-old Eddie Butler to the MLB. Butler’s 4.19 ERA in eight starts is not spectacular, but he has filled in for Anderson admirably and then some.
Outside of injuries, the Cubs have faced many key players struggle. Kyle Schwarber hit .171 before getting demoted to Triple-A Iowa on Friday; Russell hit .162 in May and Anthony Rizzo hit .194. However, Russell has hit .291 and Rizzo has hit .351 in June.
In addition to the position players that are struggling, the Cubs starting rotation pitched horribly for an extended period to open the season. Overall, the rotation has a 4.40 ERA this season, including a 4.28 ERA in April and a 4.97 ERA in May. The rotation has improved to a 3.82 ERA in June, though.
If current trends continue, the Cubs look like a team on the brink of putting everything together and making a big push. The team has not played at the level it is capable of so far and still could be in first place by Monday. The Cubs should consider themselves fortunate.