Baserunning could prove to make or break the Cubs this season

Poor base running decisions led the Cubs to lose to the Mets on Thursday and unless something changes soon, they'll lose because of it again.
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets / Al Bello/GettyImages

The 2024 Chicago Cubs are not built in the same way that the Los Angeles Dodgers are built. They’re not even built like the Atlanta Braves or the Texas Rangers either. 

That is to say, they are not going to be able to count on superstar, future Hall of Famers to win them games when the little things aren’t going their way and so far this season, those little things haven’t gone their way very often.

To have a great season, a team needs to weather the storm when it comes to injuries, make the most of every at-bat, hand the ball from a starting rotation to a bullpen they can depend on, play solid defense, and not run into outs on the basepaths.

It’s possible to at least have a good season with only a couple of those things going right and the thing the Cubs need to focus on is controlling what they can control.

The Cubs have to stop running into outs on the base paths

A few weeks ago we wrote about the Cubs and their inability to steal any bases. At the time of that writing, the Cubs had stolen just two bases on the year while the league-leading Cincinnati Reds had stolen 32. 

Since then, the Cubs have increased their total to 17 stolen bases to put them squarely in the middle of the pack in that area, which helps make our preseason thoughts about their speed being a secret weapon look a little less ridiculous, but the Reds have continued to outpace them as they now have 55 stolen bases on the year.

The problem back then was that the Cubs couldn’t steal bases, but the problem now is that the Cubs have become unnecessarily aggressive in their base running and it has already led to at least one loss. 

In Thursday’s game against the New York Mets, the Cubs had Christopher Morel and Nick Madrigal thrown out at home plate in extra innings in a game that they would go on to lose by a run. 

Only two teams (the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks) have stolen as few bases as the Cubs and have been caught stealing as often as they have been.

There are so many things in baseball that you have no control over. You have no control over your ace pulling his hamstring in the first start of the season as he tries to field a ground ball. You have no control over whether or not your closer loses his mojo over the winter.

You do have control over how aggressive you are on the base paths though, and the Cubs need to choose their spots a little more wisely moving forward because the margin for error for this team isn’t wide enough to allow for many more poor decisions.