Your Chicago Cubs, the Hottest Team in Baseball
The Cubs have been known as “lovable losers” for as long as I can remember, but they gave us a quick glimpse of hope in 2003 when they lost to the Marlins in the National League Championship Series. This year’s team could have the right balance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The whole city is buzzing about the Cubs’ recent surge & possibility of making a push for a wild card playoff position. Winning 15 of their last 17 games while scoring 4 or more runs in 16 of their last 21 has given fans something to cheer about for the first time in recent years. Their offense has picked up thanks to Kyle Schwarber who was recently brought up from the minors, he has recorded an impressive .997 OPS through his 110 plate appearances in his first 29 games & has seen 4.27 pitches per plate appearance. The team as a whole averages 3.98 pitches per plate appearance, which is the most in the National League, while the rest of the league’s average is 3.78. Last year, the Cubs also led the league in this category, seeing 3.88 pitches per appearance. Shortstop Addison Russell has seen 4.17 pitches while at the plate, Kris Bryant with 4.15, Dexter Fowler with 4.13, Chris Coghlan at 3.93 & Anthony Rizzo at 3.91 has given the team enough looks at opposing pitchers to take advantage & capitalize on the offensive end. The Cubs aren’t an offensive juggernaut yet, but the lineup construction along with seeing as many pitches as possible at the plate makes them very dangerous going into the playoff stretch.
Another necessary piece to the playoff puzzle is a solid pitching squad. With the offseason addition of Jon Lester, the team now has 2 aces at the top of their rotation. Jake Arrieta has been a force this year with 163 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.39 & is showing no signs of slowing down. Add Jon Lester to the equation who has playoff/World Series experience under his belt & you have a one-two combo that is virtually unmatched. Not only do the Cubs have dominant starters on the bump, but they have a bullpen that can seal up a game that hangs in the balance. Pedro Strop leads the team with 22 holds while Justin Grimm follows with 11 & an impressive 1.34 ERA. Hector Rondon has earned back his role as a closer & has shut down opponents with 21 saves & a 1.65 ERA. As a whole, the pitching staff for the Cubs ranks in the top 5 in several important statistical categories such as ERA, shutouts, batting average against & strikeouts.
The Cubs are in a favorable position this late in the season, but every game counts & they can’t afford to lose their momentum. September should be a very exciting month as they face the division leading St. Louis Cardinals & second place Pittsburgh Pirates 6 times each which can greatly improve their playoff chances if they can win either series & gain ground on the top 2 teams in their division. If there was ever a time to support your beloved Cubs, this is it! Tickets for all home games for the rest of the season can be purchased here.
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