The Chicago Cubs picked the right time to heat up. After two months of trading wins and losses, the team just finished a road trip where they went 6-1 and looked like a contending team. Sure, there were stretches when the team would just explode for runs, or shut down their opponent, but those were few and far between.
This past week, which saw series victories over the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, the Cubs looked flat out dangerous. They were hitting, they were pitching, they were making phenomenal plays in the field. To put it simply, they looked like a World Series winning team.
Over this seven-game stretch, the Cubs have scored 37 runs, and their only loss was a one-run affair. They have moved to 10 games above .500, the starting rotation, which has been the source of issues this season, looked better than ever before. However, it isn’t just the wins that have made this week great; it was how the Cubs were winning.
Take into account their series against the Mets. Their pitchers allowed a mere six runs in four games. On Saturday, June 2nd, the Cubs and Mets played 14 innings, the worst case scenario for a team that has relied on their bullpen as much as the Cubs. However, it seems like a different hero is showing up for the Chicago team.
Luke Farrell, who was responsible for back-to-back walk-off losses back in May, threw five phenomenal innings to earn the win, as well as save the rest of the bullpen from overuse. Jesse Rogers, a Cubs reporter for ESPN Chicago, noted that there were five relievers that were technically available, but couldn’t be used.
Farrell then put the team on his back, threw five shutout innings against the Mets, and received the win when the Cubs scored six times in the top of the 14th inning. As a side note from that game, the Cubs struck out 24 times…as hitters. Out of 42 possible outs, they struck out 24 times. Yes, it’s a lot of strike outs, but the important factor is they won the game. They never gave up.
The Cubs are scorching hot at just the right time. They’re about to enter a brutal stretch, even by baseball terms, as they play 26 games in 27 days. Making it more important is who they are playing. Of those 26 games, 14 are technically against teams under .500, but seven of them are against the resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers, who have won 13 of their past 17 games.
In addition, they are playing the Phillies, the Brewers, the Pirates, and the Cardinals. In reality, they are only playing seven games against teams that aren’t projected to do well. As it stands, the Cubs are only two games behind the Brewers for the top spot in the National League Central. This would be the perfect opportunity to show the rest of the National League why the Cubs are one of the popular picks to go deep into October yet again.
If they keep up the clutch hitting and outstanding pitching, then they can easily reel off 19 or 20 wins. Another note from Rogers is going to make Cubs fans incredibly happy. Following their four-game sweep over the Mets, the Cubs are LEADING the National League in runs and ERA. They’re scoring over five runs a game and sport an ERA of 3.18.
However, there is one scary part of this whole situation. While the Cubs have been incredible, their starting rotation still isn’t living up to the potential. Yu Darvish is still on the disabled list and Tyler Chatwood is still walking batters left and right. Just imagine how well this team will flourish once those two get on track.