Chicago Cubs: Needing to take advantage of an April schedule

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

After a very disappointing start to the season, the Chicago Cubs have an opportunity to right the ship with a relatively easy second half of April.

“Frustrated” does not even begin to describe how Chicago Cubs fans are feeling so far in 2019. After starting the week 1-6 and entering last night’s series opener four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, fans’ patience is already wearing thin.

Seeing key guys struggle like Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks and Anthony Rizzo struggle out of the gate has created a hole to dig out of. The good news? It’s April 16. However, it would be very ideal to right the ship now and not dig any deeper.

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It may sound odd trying to make it sound like April is “crunch time”, but when you dig yourself a hole in a division like the National League Central, things are a little different. Obviously, the Cubs have played few division games (only six so far) and head-to-head matchups can make a big difference in a race, but it may not make a big enough difference if you fall behind early in the year.

The Cubs have no more division games until May 3 when the St. Louis Cardinals come to town, and their remaining April schedule is as easy as it will get in 2019. Now is the time to climb back and set up for the rest of the season. It would be incredibly tough to keep playing catch up to the Cardinals and Brewers if they are sub-.500 when the calendar turns to May.

Breaking down the rest of April and early May

After this Marlins series concludes, Chicago returns to Wrigley for a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who they will play in Arizona again right away the next weekend, and then a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks are rebuilding with just a few core pieces left including Zack Greinke and Nick Ahmed. They have been decently competitive so far, but the Cubs are far superior in talent and ideally, they go at least 4-2 in their two series against them.

That series against the Dodgers will be interesting. On paper, it is by far their hardest matchup this month. The Dodgers have been very Jekyll and Hyde this season, sometimes they look absolutely unstoppable and then their pitching looks disastrous and they lose six in a row. The Cubs would like to get at least one game in that series regardless. The month ends and May begins with the red-hot Seattle Mariners coming to Wrigley. Time will tell if they will keep it up or they cool off.

In total there are 12 games left in April, and if they could go 9-3 or 8-4, there will probably be more minds at ease. That would, at the very least, keep them out of a massive hole heading into May. The realistic goal is to not necessarily surpass the Brewers or Cardinals, it is early and they have not control over what those teams do (as they do not play them), but simply get back to .500 and not be buried early.

Hamels flying high after latest Wrigley Field outing. dark. Next

There is so much baseball left to be played with so many possible outcomes in a 162-game season. Plenty of teams that make the postseason have gotten off to poor starts, but in this division, it really has to turn around now.