Chicago Cubs have fans clinging to a cautious optimism

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs are coming off arguably the most exciting weekend we’ve seen in over two years. Wrigley Field is finally back to full capacity and the team near-broke it in with a three-game sweep of the preseason NL Central favorite St. Louis Cardinals.

In the midst of a brutal stretch of the schedule, this team is once again exceeding expectations as they continue to pile up series wins against the league’s best. With all of the emotion and excitement to this point, it’s important for us as fans to not get ahead of ourselves and realize what’s ahead in a long season.

Here is what the Cubs record has looked like through June the past two full seasons:

  • 2018: 46-35
  • 2019: 45-39

We watched both teams stumble down the stretch, including a Wild Card loss in 2018 and a missed postseason the next year. The beginning of the season is important, but the stretch run is where we really find out what each team is made of. Things do feel a lot different this year and a lot of different variables are in place but it’s important to not get too far ahead of ourselves.

More from Chicago Cubs News

Under new management, the core playing for their futures and offseason additions paying big dividends are things we haven’t had in the past and it would be unfair to compare this to the group in year’s past.

Chicago Cubs have holes that need fixed

However, the Cubs are dealing with a rotation without a true ace and a bullpen that is due for some regression and decreased workload. October is about managing the bullpen but the team will need to add starting pitching to help keep the pen fresh throughout the season.

David Ross has been excellent so far this season but the long-term success of this team will come down to how well he manages this bullpen. There’s no doubt in my mind the bullpen, currently ranked second in all of baseball with a 2.59 ERA can be leant on for a postseason run but it’s crucial their workload isn’t overdone.

The exciting part about this team is not only the motivation behind them but how they’ve faired in one-run games. Here is a comparison of their record in one-run games over the past few seasons:

  • 2018: 26-25
  • 2019: 19-27
  • 2021: 13-10

Not only is this group playing in more tight ball games, they are showing much more success in them than previous years. A big reason for that is the resurgence of Craig Kimbrel. There’s a lot more confidence in this team to close out games than there has been in the past. Whether or not they continue this level of play remains to be seen but I think we can all agree the vibe is different, in a good way, around this group.

We obviously want to be cautiously optimistic moving forward and realize we don’t have the rotation (yet) to make a deep run but a lot of factors that can’t be seen in the numbers will definitely help this team down the stretch.

The lack of contract extensions for the core has lit a fire under them and should continue to be a motivating source. Not only that but Ross is showing his ability to manage games and his tighter-knit mentality in comparison to Joe Maddon will be beneficial as well. The depth of this group is showing out as well and Jed Hoyer and the scouts have actually brought guys in to make noticeable impacts.

dark. Next. Cubs must add to the starting rotation this summer

There’s a lot of season left and, while we can’t fully believe this team is ready for a postseason run, they are showing us they want to make that push.