CHICAGO -- It's time for June baseball, and many division front-runners are starting to pull away from the rest of teams in their division. I wish we could say this about the Cubs in their division; however, this is not the case. Currently, Milwaukee leads at only three games over .500 (28-25), boasting a mere 3-7 record in their last ten games. The Cardinals are 3-7 in their last ten games, along with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at 4-6. Every single team has led the division at some point this season, besides the Pirates. And, as we all are unfortunately aware of, the Cubs are 3-7 in the4ir last ten games after losing six in a row out west.
Why can't the Cubs just start winning? It’s not that easy, especially with the way the Cubs are playing. The fact of the matter is it is extremely hard to follow up after last year's magical season. Winning 103 games in the regular season? First World Series title in 108 years? The last team to repeat WS titles was the 1998-2000 Yankees who three-peated. The World Series hangover is real.
The Cubs highest batting average for an everyday player is Kris Bryant batting .278. Nearly everyone else is hitting a lower average than they did last year. At this point, the players hitting worse than last year include: Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber, Baez, Almora Jr., Conteras, Zobrist, and Russell. The only everyday player that has an improved batting average from last year's? Jason Heyward. Don't get me wrong, the Cubs are in the top half of the league in batting average (barely), but Cubs fans were spoiled last year with an almost perfect season and are feeling the repercussions of it with the Cubs having simply an average year so far. Anthony Rizzo leads in HR's (12) and RBI's (30). Between Bryant and Rizzo, they lead every single offensive category except for two. (Addison Russell leads in triples, and sure enough, Kyle Schwarber leads in strikeouts). They just aren't getting enough done to back up the mediocre at best pitching we have experienced this year.
However, don't be deceived, the Cubs pitching staff is in the top half (barely) of the league in ERA. Once again, we go back to last season, and it just doesn't compare. Last season, the Cubs’ pitching staff made an impressive statement with an ERA of 3.15, the nearest team to that was Washington with a 3.51. It's a new year, and things aren't just going to fall into place like they did in a seemingly perfect season, in which the Cubs record never fell under .500 once.
With the roster the Cubs have and the recent success, the frustration from fans is justified as they believe the Cubs shouldn't be just barely cracking the top 15 of the league, but they should be way up there in the top 5. The Cubs aren't playing like a top 15 team right now, but they have the potential of a championship contending squad.
Although the Cubs haven't given us instant gratification this season, there is a lot of room for optimism, especially because of how poorly the entire division is playing this year. With the Cubs' current record at 25-27, they would be sitting at 4th place in the NL West, 4th place in the AL West and last place in the AL East. But, they are sitting at only 2.5 games back in the struggling NL Central division. Remember, it doesn't matter how many games you win, just that you win more than the other guys. And right now, the other guys are playing just as crummy as the Cubs. It's time for another big home stand, and who better to start it off against than St. Louis!
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