It’s been a tumultuous season for the Chicago Cubs to this point. A stumbling start out of the gates in April, followed by a scorching-hot month of May that saw the team change the entire narrative surrounding it. But now, with the team just 10-9 in June with a -10 run differential, we’re once again left wondering what to make of this team.
Chicago fought off a three-game sweep at the hands of Miami this weekend by salvaging the series finale at Wrigley Field, but the team’s performance, on the whole, was pretty uninspired. The Cubs tallied just five runs total – allowing 21 in return. Still, David Ross’ club enters Monday’s matchup against the Indians tied with Milwaukee atop the NL Central at 40-32.
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The starting pitching is nothing short of abysmal. There’s no way to sugar coat it or do anything to make you feel good about the guys trotting out there every five days to toe the rubber. Kyle Hendricks has been better, all told, but behind him, it’s been a disaster.
Jake Arrieta is little more than a five at this point in his career and he’s battled inconsistency all season long. Trevor Williams is still working his way back from an emergency appendectomy last month and Zach Davies has been all over the place. No one expected him to step into the void left by Yu Darvish, but I think it’s safe to say we anticipated more than a 4.64 FIP.
Adbert Alzolay returns from the IL on Monday, which should give the Cubs a shot in the arm. But in a division that’s looking as competitive as any in the league, this club lacks the quality starting pitching needed to come away with a division title.
Chicago Cubs: Offense is back to living and dying with the long ball
Through the first three weeks of June, the Chicago Cubs have posted the third-lowest team OPS in all of Major League Baseball. The only teams they’ve fared better than? The struggling St. Louis Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who’ve lost a staggering 17 consecutive contests.
The Cubs’ .181 average this month is the worst in baseball, as is their .244 OBP. The last 30 days have seen almost every key contributor on this team fall off in a big way. Willson Contreras carries a .591 OPS during that span, Javier Baez’s OPS is only halfway decent because of his power numbers and Kris Bryant isn’t doing the damage he was earlier in the year.
We’ve talked about this issue with the team’s offense for years now. In 2016, Chicago won it all by relying on a high-octane offense that just shellacked opponents into submission. But since then, the formula hasn’t worked – but the players and the organization have both failed to make the necessary adjustments.
We’re seeing that again this year. When they’re hot, they can go toe-to-toe with anybody. But when they’re mired in a cold spell, no amount of sunshine and warmth at the Confines can make you feel good watching their at-bats.
There’s still a week and a half left in June. There’s time to start doing the little things right and coming out of the month feeling alright about it. But, on the other hand, if things don’t change in a hurry, we could head into July legitimately concerned over whether or not the front office will actually end up as buyers.