3 things we’ve learned about the Cubs as May nears an end

Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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It’s been a rocky start to the 2022 season for the Cubs, but we’ve learned quite a bit about this team over the first two months of the campaign.

Ah, there’s nothing like a 20-5 drubbing at the hands of one of the worst teams in all of baseball heading into an off-day to really feel good about your club. That’s the situation the Cubs find themselves in on a rainy Friday here in Chicago.

The next 10 or so days are a make-or-break stretch for the Cubs. They either show up and make some noise against Milwaukee and St. Louis, the first and second-place teams in the NL Central, or they accept their fates as sellers and non-factors heading into the summer months.

Here are a few things we’ve already learned about this team – both good and bad – that can give you some things to keep an eye on heading into this critical part of the schedule.

Cubs starting pitching has been all over the place early in 2022

We knew back when the season started: Chicago would only go as far as its rotation carried it. So far, that’s been to an 18-26 mark – good for fourth in the division. The struggles we saw from Kyle Hendricks in 2021 have carried over into 2022. He rates poorly in almost every conceivable metric,  is allowing consistent hard contact and can’t keep the ball on the ground to save his life.

Marcus Stroman, the team’s big offseason signing, missed a good chunk of time due to COVID, and is still working to bounce back from a pair of rough early season starts that have inflated his numbers. Justin Steele has shown brief glimpses of what he’s capable of, but inconsistency has plagued him, and he comes out of Thursday’s abbreviated start carrying a 5.40 ERA in nine starts.

Drew Smyly has been quietly reliable at the back end of the rotation and, in just three starts, Wade Miley has been exactly what the doctor ordered. The only problem there is that both are veterans on one-year deals and are almost guaranteed to be shipped off ahead of the trade deadline in early August. When that happens, the question becomes: where then will the Cubs turn for innings?