Chicago Cubs: Offense off to a strong start this year
As bad as the pitching has been, the Cubs’ offense has been really good in the first five games. They lead all of Major League Baseball with a staggering .330 team average and have 28 walks to just 39 strikeouts (a direct contributor to their league-leading .420 OBP).
More importantly, though, they haven’t relied on the long ball. As a team, Chicago has just seven home runs on the season. For comparison, both Cody Bellinger and Khris Davis have five homers apiece. They’ve executed remarkably well when it comes to situational hitting – even in losses.
One of the moments that really stands out to me is Kyle Schwarber‘s ninth-inning bunt down the third-base line on Sunday in Texas. With the infield swung around in a shift, he placed a perfect bunt down to reach and keep the Cubs’ hopes alive. Those types of things can win ball games – and over the course of a season, will pay dividends.
Six different Cubs players who have appeared in at least four games this year carry an OBP north of .400 into Thursday’s finale against the Braves. Schwarber and teammate Willson Contreras have been playing like men possessed and have helped carry the offense. Both guys faded pretty badly down the stretch last season, so getting their production in the middle of the lineup is key for Joe Maddon‘s team.
There has been plenty of talk about the team ‘pressing‘ – but if there’s one area that doesn’t seem to have been a case, it’s at the plate. They’re working counts, drawing walks and limiting the strikeouts. Now, if only their pitching counterparts could do the same.