How would I describe the Cubs so far? Opportunistic.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

If I had to use one word to describe this year’s Cubs team thus far I would say ‘opportunistic’. I know it’s early but this was a series against the Brewers, arguably the best team in the division, and the Cubs performed very admirably, if not well above expectations.

The starting pitchers for the three games, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele and Marcus Stroman combined for an ERA of 1.19 with 15 strikeouts across 15 1/3 innings, an unquestionably impressive showing. Now, of course, the question is “Can they keep it up?” The answer is probably ’no,’ but it’s certainly an excellent start.

The bullpen looked solid for the most part and team’s potential new closer, David Robertson, recorded a save in his first opportunity, and added a second scoreless frame in Sunday’s series finale.

Cubs bats are working counts and manufacturing offense

My takeaway from this weekend’s series was that Cubs hitters were being very deliberate at the plate, working to take more pitches and go deep into counts. I’m wondering if that might be part  of the influence of David Ross, their manager, a man who, in his career, exemplified patience.

We also can’t overlook the potential contributions and influence of new hitting coach Greg Brown, who came over from the Tampa Bay Rays organization this winter.

Our one greatly anticipated offensive weapon, Seiya Suzuki, quickly endeared himself to the Wrigley faithful, hitting .375 for the series with six runs batted in. His first homer, a majestic 412-foot dinger, was certainly something to behold. He did show that he still has to get used to playing right field in Wrigley, not an easy job even for a veteran but Jason Heyward bailed him out on the one play most fraught with danger.

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What Looms Next?

It is on to Pittsburgh, starting Tuesday. It will be interesting if the Cubs continued these patterns of play there. Many Cubs fans, this writer included, did not know what to expect from this team. I, for one, was not optimistic. But watching them in these games I am guardedly hopeful they might actually be a competitive force in the National League. For the moment, they are tied with St. Louis for first place in the Central Division and that’s not bad.