Don’t look now, but the Chicago Cubs are crushing their competition

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Bats heating up as calendar flips to May

After a hot start to 2019 in Texas, the Cubs’ offense went ice-cold in early April, prompting downright panic. But here we are a month later and the Chicago bats are picking up steam heading into a critical stretch of the schedule.

Anthony Rizzo got off to his typical slow start in April, hitting just .228. But as the month progressed, he picked up steam and carries a 1.399 OPS over his last five games into Monday’s series opener against Miami. During that stretch, he’s belted a trio of home runs and driven in nine.

Having his presence in the middle of the order does wonders for guys like Javier Baez and Willson Contreras, who hit behind him. When Rizzo is punishing pitches and working counts, the guys behind him tend to have more success – as we’ve seen of late.

In the last week, Contreras, an All-Star last season, is scorching opposing pitching. He’s got an eye-popping 1.000 slugging percentage during that stretch, helping pace an offense that looks as good as any Cubs team in the last few seasons. The best part? There’s another guy who’s turning the corner and looking ready to rake in Kris Bryant.

Bryant, who limped out of the gate this spring, is looking to put an injury-plagued 2018 season behind him. In the past week, the former first-rounder has six walks to just three strikeouts to go with a .333 average. Of course, this stretch was highlighted by his grand slam on Sunday night – the fifth of his young career.

Top to bottom, there are few weak spots in this lineup right now. Even guys like Albert Almora, who have struggled badly this year, are coming up with knocks. When this roster performs at this level, there are few ways they can be beaten.