Chicago Cubs: Secret to success is…leather?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Defense Wins Championships

The most telling fact about the Cubs early season defensive performance can be found in the numbers. Through April 21, Chicago was 9-9. When considering balls put into play, opponents were batting .320 and slugging .512 in that span. This performance ranked in the middle of the pack over those 18 games. Since – a stretch of seven wins in eight games – opponents are batting a minuscule .215 on balls put into play. They are slugging an equally anemic .336 in those games. The Cubs lead the league in both categories during that stretch.

This stark contrast in results translates directly to team wins. Consider this: Cubs pitchers aren’t striking opponents out at a particularly high rate so far in 2018. This staff is pitching to contact, so if the defense covers ground and stops runners from taking extra bases, it is clear the wins will follow.

Next: Edwards becoming a pattern for success

Simply put, when the defense plays well, the team wins. When they do not, they lose. Pitching, batting, advanced stats – none of that factors into their won-loss record more than defense. The past week of excellent baseball has proven that point.

The 2018 Chicago Cubs can hit as well as any team in the league and have as solid a stable of arms as you’ll find in baseball. But make no mistake, the book on the Cubs 2018 season will be bound in leather.