Since last we checked in on the Chicago Cubs, they’ve managed to play three series and win them all. They took two of three in Detroit before coming home to take three of four from the Washington Nationals and heading down to Boringtown to take two of three from the Cardinals. Let’s get to this:
Nico Hoerner has just been so damn good this year. He’s currently sitting at third among National League second basemen in Outs Above Average (OAA) despite the Cubs trying to keep him in the minors long enough to manipulate him into another year of service time. He’s also posting 324/395/423 slash line. His .818 OPS would be good for 4th among AL second basemen if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. And none of the guys with OPS higher than him have shown a better glove than he has. As an added bonus, my HS buddy Vince texted me last night saying we should call him “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, as he’s making magic next to El Mago.
The Cubs’ pitching has been carrying the mail a lot lately. The effectiveness of the entire staff was the reason the Cubs were able to take two of three from St. Louis despite going 17 straight innings with nobody crossing the plate. The pitching also put the clamps on the Nationals – hell, even Trevor Williams was good.
Bats heating up. Both Javier Baez and Ian Happ have started hitting to the point that they both now have wRC+ over 100 for the year following ghastly starts. Baez had the to-head home run in the 10th inning last night, and having these two guys taking the burden off Kris Bryant in the lineup might prevent the Cubs having a deadline fire sale, especially if they can move into first place. With the Federal Landmark scheduled to be full June 11, the Garbage Family that Owns The Cubs (Thanks Andy) will no longer be able to cry poverty without looking even more ridiculous than they do now.
It was definitely a sad moment when Jon Lester signed with the Nationals. He should have retired as a Cub. He also should have done it after last season. The fact that his likely last appearance on the mound in Wrigley Field was not only him in another uniform, but getting shelled, was not great for anybody.
If the Cubs had kept Yu Darvish (1.9 fWAR) and Kyle Schwarber (0.8 fWAR), they’d be in first place right now.
Justin Steele batted for himself and got on base. He wound up leaving the game and going onto the Injured List with hamstring tightness. So the Cubs have aparently learned nothing from when Pedro Strop blew his out running to first base in 2018. Good job.
Next up for the Cubs is a three game set with the Yinzers in PNC Park before coming home to 60% capacity crowds for Memorial Day Weekend. They currently sit at two games over .500, which is their high water mark for the season. Can they get to three over? Dare to dream.