The 2023 Chicago Cubs season is off and running. Opening Day is in the rearview and we find ourselves entering the second week of play. The Cubs find themselves 2-3 heading into the weekend series against the 4-2 Texas Rangers. At the moment, the Rangers record seems to be aided by an opening series sweep of last year’s National League Champion, Philadelphia Phillies, who did not have a great week. They followed that up by losing their next series to the 3-3 Baltimore Orioles. Enough about the Rangers though, let’s get back to the Cubs.
The Cubs lost their opening series against the Brewers and then followed it up with a split with the Cincinnati Reds before Wednesday’s game was postponed until September 1. Their record is a little deceiving as they had leads in all three of their losses. Two of those losses were by a combined 3 runs. It’s early but I’m beginning to wonder if I should not have written the Brewers off as a contender prior to the season. It will be interesting to see if they are for real or if the Cubs just beat themselves during that series.
Patrick Wisdom is off to a great start, picking up where he left off in Mesa. The Cubs third baseman is batting a surprising .375 with an OPS 1.319. This is well above his previous career highs in both categories. It is a little surprising based off that comparison. You might want to write it off due to the small sample size. However, he hit .333 with an OPS 1.073 during Spring Training so he has been producing at this level for 20 games now. At two home runs, he has almost equaled his Spring Training total of 3. Hopefully Wisdom can keep up the great production. If 2023 is the year he puts it all together he might just lock up third base for the rest of his career.
In addition to Wisdom, the Cubs 1-3 batters (Hoerner, Swanson, and Happ) are leading the way. The top of the order is hitting a combined .400 at the moment. Happ and Swanson have combined for 11 walks. Hoerner adds two stolen bases to the mix. These are doing a great job of setting the table for the players behind them in the order. Bellinger, Mancini, and Wisdom each have 5 RBI and Hosmer has 4 of his own after Wisdom. Hosmer is doing plenty to contribute with a .294 average. He isn’t hitting the ball over the fence but he keeps the order moving.
Stroman and Steele were the bright spots in the starting rotation the first time through. Each had 8 strikeouts in 6 innings during their season debuts. I was looking forward to the Stroman-Reds matchup but the weather did not cooperate. He instead will open the series against the Rangers. From the bullpen, Adbert Alzolay also has 8 strikeouts in 4.2 relief innings. He has given up 2 runs on 2 hits but looks to be one of the better relievers in the bullpen.
Looking forward, Seiya Suzuki is going to be starting a rehab assignment this weekend. If everything goes well, he could make his season debut by the end of next week. We could find out a lot about this Cubs team over the next couple of weeks. They have series against the Rangers, Mariners, Dodgers (twice), Athletics, and Padres. Adding Seiya’s potent bat back into the lineup could really have this team firing on all cylinders. Regardless of what happens, the season isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Enjoy the ride!
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