Over the last two plus weeks, the Chicago Cubs have been a team of streaks. The Cubs have crammed winning streaks, losing streaks, hitting streaks, and offensive slumps into a very short period of time. Just when they look like they are finding their groove at the plate, the bats turn cold. When it looks like the pitching staff is going to be a major strength, the bullpen uncharacteristically blows a late lead. To say the least, it has been a very strange two weeks in Wrigleyville.
The Cubs streakiness started on April 26th with a 1-0 shutout victory against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs would go on to win 5 games in a row, only giving up a total of 4 runs combined during their streak. This was out of character for the Cubs as they were the only team in MLB without a 3-game winning or losing streak at that point. However, while the pitching staff was dominant over this period, things were not all roses for the Northsiders. The offense went into a funk, failing to put up more than 3 runs during this period. Seemingly, Javier Baez and Albert Almora were the only players hitting consistently at the time.
Following their 5-game winning streak, the Cubs proceeded to lose 5 games in a row. The offense continued to struggle, and the bullpen had some issues during a 3-game series in St. Louis. When it seemed like nothing could go right, Chicago had the good fortune to welcome the last place Florida Marlins to Wrigley Field on Monday, May 7th. The Cubs outscored the Fish 31-9 during the series and have remained hot, beating up on their crosstown rivals during the first 2 games of their weekend set.
While there is something to be said for consistency, there isn’t a manager in baseball that is not going to be elated with long winning streaks. The Cubs, for their part, have shown flashes of brilliance in all aspects of the game this year. The key for them moving forward will be to put it all together at the same time. If they can do that, they should be able to make another deep run into October.
Stats by baseball-reference.com
Photo from usatodaysports/geoff burke