CHISportsNation

Well that was an interesting series. After falling in the opener, the Cubs came back from five and three runs down respectively to take the final two games and win the series two games to one. We take a look at what needs to be looked at below.

 

NVRQT

Like Jon Lester’s NVRQT foundation, the Cubs never seem to give up. After falling down 5-0 in the middle game, the team outscored Milwaukee 9-2 the rest of the way and won by two. Yesterday’s game was similar, with the Cubs trailing 4-1 going into the bottom of the 6th. Then, FINALLY, the Cubs got those big hits when Kris Bryant tied the game in the 9th and Addison Russell sent everybody home with a walk-off three-run bomb to left. It wasn’t pretty, but they’ll take it.

 

Starters Giving Up the Long Ball

Preventing home runs was a calling card for the Cubs last season. After giving up only 163 homers last season, 6th best in the league, the team gave up seven more during the latest series, bringing their season total up to 19. That ranks in the bottom half of the league, and while it’s early in the season, it’s a disturbing trend that we hope doesn’t continue.

 

Albert Almora Jr. Vying For More Playing Time

We know what he can do with his defense, but Almora Jr. is also offensively making a case for more playing time. The just-turned 23-year-old had a strong series going 3-9 with a home run and five RBIs. He’s now batting .391/.440/.609 in 26 plate appearances, and it’s getting to the point where Joe Maddon may not have any other choice but to play him more often. He’s been that big of a difference maker, and ranks 2nd on the team in WAR and 1st in wRC+ (weighted runs created plus, which measures how many runs above average [100] a player is worth) at 188. Of course the tradeoff would be less playing time for either Ben Zobrist or Javy Báez, but with the way both have been hitting to start the season maybe it’s for the best.

 

Wade Davis Settling In

When the Cubs traded Jorge Soler for closer Wade Davis some were skeptical. Davis was recovering from a forearm injury that kept him on the disabled list multiple times last season, but so far he’s been as reliable as ever. He’s 2-0 with three saves, hitters are hitting a paltry .120 against him and he has yet to give up a run. With only two extra base hits given up in 7.1 IP, his shoddy Spring Training stats are a thing of the past and, most importantly, he’s healthy.

 

What’s next: The Cubs head to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a three-game series. The Cubs owned Cincinnati last year, beating them 15 out of 19 times. However the Reds have started the season off impressively, leading the division by 0.5 games over the Cubs at 9-7. A series win would vault the Cubs to the top of the standings so this is a key one.

 

*All stats courtesy of Fangraphs

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