The Chicago Cubs have made it four straight now and have scratched and clawed their way back above the .500 mark heading into Saturday’s matchup with Chicago. The bats, which were historically bad to open the year, have been hanging crooked numbers on a regular basis – including a 15-run outburst against Milwaukee in the series opener.
Here’s the thing, though. This group has always been capable of blowing teams out. On any given day, you could see this team put on a clinic – but you also might see them strike out a dozen times and muster only a few hits. That hasn’t changed so far this season, although seeing the Cubs string together solid at-bats has been a welcome change of pace lately.
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"“It’s kind of a tale as old as time,” said Anthony Rizzo, who passed Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett on the franchise’s all-time home run list Friday. “When guys get hot, get rolling, the next thing you know, another guy gets rolling; next thing you know, you hit a bunch of homers and get a bunch of hits.”"
Over the last half-dozen games, Chicago has averaged north of nine runs per game – a dramatic improvement from its output in the first two weeks of the season, when they mustered only 2.6 runs per game.
Cubs closing the gap in the NL Central
With its improvement has come more winning, which has cut the Brewers’ lead over the Cubs in the NL Central to just one game with two games left head-to-head this weekend.
There’s a ton of baseball left to be played. And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there are going to be more cold spells for the bats this year. That’s the case for every team, not just the Cubs – but the question of how volatile those back-and-forth swings are will determine whether this team is a postseason contender or a seller at the trade deadline.
Even if key guys stay hot – namely Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez – there’s no guarantee the front office doesn’t sell come June and July, looking to assemble pieces for the next era of Cubs baseball. All we can do right now is enjoy it while it lasts, because it’s bound to be a wild ride as the season continues.