Three series, three wins. The Cubs once again took two of three against their opponent, (this time being the Los Angeles Dodgers), and once again there were some positives and negatives to analyze. Here we take our crack at them.
Starting Pitching Once Again Dominates
The Dodgers scored one, one and zero runs in the series against Cubs starting pitching, good for a combined 1.06 ERA. Great team defense was heavily involved in keeping that number so low, but we already knew that the team would have run-stopping defenders behind the mound. The starting staff is now No.1 in the league in ERA and is top 10 in numerous categories, including strikeouts, WHIP, BABIP, left on base percentage (LOB%) and soft contact induced. Safe to say they’re doing ok.
Albert Almora Jr., Gold Glover
We already know that Almora is one of the best defensive CF in the league. In case you didn’t know, he reminded you yesterday with not one but TWO incredible catches.
That’s two extra base hit-saving snags, one of which prevented Los Angeles from tying the game. It’s no wonder Seager, who hit both balls, raised his helmet in admiration after the second – how could you not? Rumors from inside the Cubs’ camp state that Almora will get a little more reps than fellow CF Jon Jay, but the way he’s playing defense (and hitting the ball), he might get most of them by the time the season ends.
Rizzo and Russell Show Some Pop
After eight games without a homer, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell finally hit their firsts yesterday. However, the whole series they’ve been squaring up the ball, and Rizzo would’ve had his first yesterday if not for the wind. Russell may have had one too but it’s hard to tell, and along with his homer yesterday he had two other deep fly balls that stayed in the yard, which means that it’s only a matter of getting the bat a little more up on the ball. Expect him to make some adjustments.
Kyle Schwarber Becoming the New Adam Dunn?
Retired slugger Adam Dunn used to fascinate ball writers because he always more often than not did one of three things when he came up to the plate: walk, strikeout or hit a home run. Dubbed the “King of the Three True Outcomes,” so far this season Kyle Schwarber is on pace to be at least in the royal court. In 42 plate appearances, Schwarber’s struck out, walked or hit a homer in 26 of them, good for 62 percent. Strikeouts account for over 60 percent of the total, so of course we’d like to see him put the bat on the ball more. However, with Schwarber drawing that many walks (and with his OBP being the highest on the team at .381) the decision to have him as the leadoff hitter is still a good one.
What’s next: The Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set at Wrigley Field. Two young Pirate pitchers, Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon, are slated to start the last two games, so look for the Cubs to potentially take advantage, even though both have plus stuff.