After that awful 2-7 start to the season, the Chicago Cubs turned it on at the plate. But lately, the bats have been offensive, as in foul-smelling offensive.
The Chicago Cubs won eight series in a row and won nine of 10 from April 8 through May 12. They climbed from near the bottom of the National League Central to a division-leading 24-14 Their fourth-place record of rose to a division-leading 24-14 on May 12.
But lately, the offense has sputtered. The month of June is starting to look and feel like last September. The team’s June slash of .235/.307/.416 and .723 OPS is almost identical to that 2018 timeframe aside for the higher slugging this time around.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs: Adrian Sampson is forcing his way into the conversation
- Projecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 season
- Cubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel
- Justin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the Cubs
- The future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs
Home versus road splits
This isn’t a simple case of hitting better at home and struggling on the road. In fact, the team’s road batting average and slugging percentage is slightly better than at Wrigley Field. Chicago’s on-base percentage is slightly better at home but their .797 road OPS is nearly 20 points higher than that same figure at home.
Despite those reverse splits, the Cubs are a white-hot 24-11 at home and a dismal 15-20 on the road. The club hits slightly better on the road, but win far more games at home. Why? The pitching has been brutal away from the Friendly Confines of late. In the month of June, Chicago is 8-7 with six of those wins coming in the Windy City. Six of the seven losses have come on the road.
Is this just a minor June swoon?
Growing up as a Cubs fan it was called the June swoon. The team would be in the hunt early on, then by the end of June, they faded into oblivion. This could be a minor version of that phenomenon.
Looking at some overall individual numbers compared to June we find Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, and even Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant underperforming this month compared to their overall numbers. Subtract June’s stats and those differences become even starker.
Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and David Bote are producing better in June than they have all season, but that is completely offset by the collapse of Addison Russell and Albert Almora this month. Carlos Gonzalez hasn’t shown up yet and Daniel Descalso is a bigger threat to his own team than opponents with a bat in his hands.
Sweet home Chicago
The Cubs end their second rough road trip with an extended homestand against second-tier teams, starting with the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets. In fact, between now and the All-Star Break, Atlanta is only division contender they will face.
And after the Midsummer Classic, it’s another slew of bottom dwellers until the Cubs face the Brewers in Milwaukee in late July. This month-long span from June 18 until July 24 should prove happy hunting grounds for Cubs hitters and provide the perfect chance pull out of the minor swoon they’re in right now.