It’s been nearly thirty days and the Chicago Cubs are 10-7. Not a great record for a team with high expectations. But once again it is the first month of the baseball season. Some teams get off to a fast start and fizzle and some get off to a slow start like the White Sox where it might take another brawl with the Kansas City Royals for them to turn it around.
Chicago could be considered the sports mecca of the U.S. right now with the draft being in town this Thursday. So the plight of both teams could be taken off the front page of the newspaper. Let’s not forget the Blackhawks and the Bulls advancing to the second round of their respective playoffs.
But this is baseball season and with the Cubs having called up two of their biggest named prospects the plight of the Cubs could over shadow it all.
Kris Bryant will hit and I wouldn’t be surprised that he hits nearly twenty home runs in this his first season in the MLB. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are hitting like the all stars we’ve prayed they would be. Addison Russell will start to hit like expected though I’m not sure he’ll hit twenty homeruns this season. With the new playoff format the Cubs could turn into the National League version of the Royals. And that could start of a long run of successive seasons in the playoffs for this team. But there is always the ever present St. Louis Cardinals who right now are two games up on the Cubs in the division. By the middle of may that could change. What might spur that is the fact Manager Joe Maddon is doing something an old Cardinals Manager used to do, bat the pitcher in the 8th spot. Does that make a difference? I’d say it does. This team is hitting. They have a lineup of hitters. Patient hitters. Hitters who can draw walks and hit for power. What does all this mean if they don’t gel as a team? Most of these guys are playing together for the first time though we all know it takes just one good season to create a special season. Just ask the White Sox and Colorado Rockies.
It’s been nearly thirty days and by no means have things been settled but this a season about five years in the making. Mid season trades of veteran players to build up a top rated minor league system. While I wasn’t a fan of bringing up Kris Bryant early it seems as in the case of Addison Russell necessity won out. I personally am not sold on Joe Maddon being the savior for this team though he’s said all of the right things. I don’t think it even required a change in manager to be doing what the Cubs are doing right. I would predict they could be could be ten games over .500 this time next moth. Or they could be around .500 and stay there the rest of the season. I don’t think this team has the hype of the Washington Nationals a few years ago or the Cubs during the Dusty Baker or Lou Pinella years. With Maddon’s history in the American League and him treating this team like an American League team it is possible to repeat what he did in Tampa Bay. Point being that anything can happen with this team but a last place finish isn’t one of them.
Considering this is only a synopsis of the first thirty days of the baseball season and to an extent everyone is still in first place. Still thinking the key to the post season lies in a late season series in St. Louis that is if the Cubs want to win the division as is everyone’s desire. An 84 win season will get them somewhere but not the National League Central Champion. A division which this season is about middle of the pack in strength and I think 84 wins are a stretch for this Cubs Team.
I don’t think this team can out hit its pitching considering they haven’t played together long. And with their interleague opponents the American League Central including Kansas City.
They have had some signature wins particularly inside the division in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and Colorado. But the league is wide open in the early going.