The Chicago Cubs lineup has been stagnant for the better part of the second half of the season, but its not time to push the panic button just yet.
Don’t get me wrong, this recent slump from the Cubs offense has been frustrating to watch. After an unprecedented five-game span in which the Cubs were held to one run each day via solo home run, it may be easy to press the panic button.
Lets pump the brakes. The Cubs offense has been hot and cold all year. Every time you think they’re about to take off, they take a step back. The have yet to hit their stride, or come close to reaching their full potential.
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They still sit 2 1/2 games ahead of the surging St. Louis Cardinals in the Central Division and have the easiest strength of schedule in the division for the remainder of the season.
Help on the way
Daniel Murphy is going to be a Cub for the rest of this season. His pedigree, ability to hit righties and lefties well and success at Wrigley Field should all play well for a team with World Series aspirations.
Along with Murphy, the Cubs still expect former MVP Kris Bryant to return sometime in the near future. He joined the team for live batting practice Tuesday for the first time since going on the DL with a shoulder issue. Sticking Murphy and Bryant at the top of the order will provide a boost to a struggling offense.
This offense is too talented to stay stagnant, they will bounce back, and hopefully with some consistency.
2018 still falls on the rotation
Remember two weeks ago when the Cubs rotation was the problem? Yeah, that’s over. Despite losing Yu Darvish, the Cubs rotation sets up nicely. The addition of Cole Hamels has proven to be a shot in the arm for the entire staff. In Hamels first four starts as a Cub, he is 3-0 with a microscopic 0.72 ERA.
Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester also appear to be returning to form. The latter turned in back-to-back solid outings after a rocky start to the second half. If the Cubs can get all three of those starters going, the top of their rotation becomes elite.
These are guys that know how to win big games down the stretch and in the postseason.
Both Lester and Hamels have won World Series MVP trophies in their respective careers. Hendricks has been the starting pitcher in an NLCS-clinching win and a historic World Series Game 7. These are guys that are built for this.
Between the three pitchers, they have thrown a collective 296 1/3 postseason innings. They are a combined 18-15 with a 2.97 ERA. They have by far more playoff experience than any other team in the National League.
Expect these guys to be sharp down the stretch and give the Cubs a chance to win day-in and day-out.
Much like in 2016, the Cubs will go as far as their rotation will take them. Their lineup is too strong to stay inconsistent, especially with the coming additions of Murphy and Bryant. Even with a slumping lineup, Chicago remains set up very well for October.