Chicago Cubs: What are their odds without a healthy KB?
2016 National League MVP Kris Bryant has appeared in just 10 games since late June. Yet, the Cubs enter Sunday’s finale 18 games over the .500 mark with the best record in the National League.
But, if you ask Perez, the Cubs’ postseason fate won’t be decided by their young franchise cornerstone. Rather, their future lies in the hands of the pitching staff – one that has been remarkably inconsistent this year.
"“It’s not so much on Kris Bryant. It’s on how will Yu Darvish rebound,” he said when asked if the Cubs can win another World Series without KB in the lineup. “Will Lester be dominant down the stretch? You’ll need Quintana, you’ll need Hamels. They have the pitching to do it. They have the bullpen to do it.”"
Of course, Darvish hasn’t taken the ball for Chicago since May 20. Lester, as mentioned, turned in another clunker Saturday, raising his second-half ERA to a ghastly 10.32. That number stands in stark contrast to his 2.58 first-half clip, which netted him his fifth career All-Star appearance.
Despite that league-best record, have the Cubs underperformed this season? It depends how you look at it. Perez points out that, while Anthony Rizzo struggled in the first month-plus and Bryant has battled a power outage due to injury, there are other guys who stepped up. Namely, Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras.
"“At the end of the day, you’re getting production. If you look at the Opening Day lineup for the Chicago Cubs and look at the bottom three (6-7-8). You’re looking at guys who are now in the top of the order.”"