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The Cubs are off to a pretty good start.

Winning two of three (fourth game was postponed to May 30th as part of a double header) against the division favorite Milwaukee Brewers to open the season, the Cubs went to Pittsburgh and split a quick two game set.

Starting 3-2 isn’t too bad for a team that was projected to only win 75 games.

Chicago Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki, left, celebrates with Jason Heyward, center, after the team’s 5-4 win against the Milwaukee Brewers in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

In an earlier article, I predicted the Cubs to split with the Brewers and take both games from the Pirates, and that was cautiously optimistic. After seeing how this team has faced pitching this season, I may need to adjust my future predictions. 

There was no surprise that Seiya Suzuki would be getting on base as a Cub, but he has exceeded expectations so far. He leads the team with an OPS of 1.524, slightly ahead of Ian Happ, who has started his comeback season on a tear. 

Suzuki, along with the rest of the team who have been seeing pitches better, and swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone. The team currently sits at 46 strikeouts, which puts them in the top third of the league. They have also been taking their free passes, with 22 walks early in the year. 

 

With the good also comes the bad. 

 

After having incredible second-half performances last season, both Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel have not played up to their potential yet. They are a combined 5-34 with 14 strikeouts. 

While I do not think that these two will continue to have poor showings, they will have four games at Coors Field to turn that around. The park, notoriously known as a hitters park, will play host to the Cubs for a weekend set. These two could not have asked for a better park to hit at, to try and break out of the early season slump.

We can’t just talk about the offense though.

The early season pitching has been well above where we expected it to be performing. The first time through the rotation, the Cubs had one of the strongest looks from each of their top four starters. 

Kyle Hendricks went vintage in his Opening Day start, going 5.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, and striking out 7 Milwaukee batters. In game two, Justin Steele made a strong case he belonged in the rotation, pitching 5 strong innings, allowing 4 hits, and striking out 5. Marcus Stroman continued the strong starts, also going 5 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, and striking out 3. Drew Smyly looked really good in his Cub debut, tossing 5 scoreless innings and allowing only 3 hits. 

While the Cubs starters won’t be striking out a lot of batters, they weren’t giving up many hard hit balls. According to Statcast, they have a team average of 88.6 MPH exit velocity, and an average launch angle of 10.9 degrees. They are pitching to contact, and getting weak ground ball outs at one of the highest rates in baseball.

 

If the Cubs starters are able to continue pitching to weak contact, they will set up the team for a lot of success this summer. 

 

Next week, I will be looking at the May schedule and predicting how that month will look for the team. This time, I’ll have some stats to backup my projections.

 

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