Ed. note – Welcome new WARR contributor Justin Dukes to the crew. Justin will cover the Chicago Cubs and their developments through the remainder of the season.
A getaway can sound good when you’re not doing your best work and at 24-21 so far in their championship defense season, the Chicago Cubs can’t be said to be completely on their game.
But today’s “getaway game” against San Francisco (1 pm, ABC-7), could be the latest sign that the Cubs are back to where they need to be to maintain their spot among baseball’s best.
With a key road trip looming — starting with a Memorial Day weekend stop-over in LA with the Dodgers — the Cubs are trying to shake off their mediocre start, the type a Championship caliber squad would have preferred not to make. Take, for instance, last year’s team being at 31-14 after their May 25th win against St. Louis.
Never fear, though, at least if the last two games were to your liking, North Siders.
With their offense in particular not living up to expectations, wins on Tuesday and Wednesday night over the San Francisco Giants were definite boosts to change that line of thinking.
Home runs from key contributors Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo were a welcome sight, Schwarbs especially looked like his Baby (Babe) Ruth self with a show-stopper on Tuesday.
For the past several weeks the Cubs have had one of the best batting averages in the league, having multiple double digit wins this month.
What the Cubs have achieved in May hopefully can serve as a blueprint moving forward. The season as a whole has been a slight disappointment for the defending champions, but as early as the season is, it is clearly premature to completely dismiss the still promising squad.
Perhaps the biggest bright spot in Tuesday’s victory was the complete game of ace John Lester. Having a double digit strikeout count and throwing less than 100 pitches to achieve a perfect game were just some of the high points of his night.
“I think it impacts the rest of the starting pitchers,” said Cubs Manager Joe Maddon in a post-game interview with ESPN. “It’s contagious. They feed off one another. I’d like to believe something like that can really tweak the starters in a good way.”
Furthering team confidence, “The Professor” Kyle Hendricks offered a strong seven inning performance Wednesday, scattering five hits and allowing only two runs before the Giants put a ninth-inning scare down. The wobbly Cubs bullpen eventually clinched a 5-4 win.
In a season marred by injuries, star players underachieving, and a defense that has looked suspect many of times, these recent wins were the best response to dispel that observation. More than anything now, consistency will be what rights the ship for the Cubs.
Justin Dukes is a Chicago-based sports writer, follow him on Twitter @1kingzdream.