The Chicago Cubs can solely hope a time off and a return dwelling current a reset.
After a 2-7 journey to Minnesota, Houston and Philadelphia that featured blowouts and demoralizing losses, the Cubs ought to regroup ahead of a pivotal homestand. They returned to Chicago on Sunday night sitting fourth throughout the division, one recreation ahead of the last-place Cincinnati Reds, who come to Wrigley Area this weekend for a three-game sequence.
“Realistically, we’ve simply acquired to be higher,” shortstop Dansby Swanson acknowledged after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Phillies. “In case you want to compete on this league continuously, you’ve acquired to play successfully and in addition you’ve acquired to rearrange successfully.
“On the finish of the day, we’ve acquired to be higher and we are going to. We’ve acquired plenty of nice gamers in right here, plenty of nice monitor data. It’s only a matter of coming collectively on the proper time.”
Listed below are three numbers that define the Cubs’ ugly freeway journey.
1. The pitching staff’s 7.51 ERA
When it wasn’t any individual throughout the rotation struggling to get through a start, it was the bullpen imploding.
Cubs starters have been a power plenty of the season, nevertheless there have been too many clunkers on the journey. Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon each produced their worst begins of the season. Hayden Wesneski acquired roughed up, too, in Minnesota sooner than the Cubs optioned him to Triple-A Iowa with two days off ahead and Kyle Hendricks’ return impending all through the upcoming homestand.
Solely left-hander Drew Smyly tossed two prime quality begins, posting a 2.25 ERA and .182 frequent in opposition to to proceed an unbelievable start to his season. The Cubs rotation’s 6.45 ERA on the journey wasn’t what they wished in opposition to a few prime quality teams, along with the two reigning pennant winners.
And when a starter did place them for a win, the bullpen struggled to lock down the opposing lineup. Cubs relievers blended for a minus-27 run differential. The Twins beat up on the Cubs particularly, scoring in all probability essentially the most runs in Goal Area historic previous over a three-game span.
If the Cubs are going to local weather the offense’s inconsistencies, they need additional from their bullpen. They’ve wasted in every other case sturdy numbers from the rotation through the first seven weeks.
2. Christopher Morel’s 7 dwelling runs
There are scorching streaks in baseball, after which there’s the human torch, Christopher Morel.
Because the Cubs recalled Morel from Iowa, the 23-year-old Dominican has slugged eight dwelling runs in his first 11 video video games of the season — one factor solely three totally different players have completed since 1900. Morel joins Phillies Corridor of Famer Mike Schmidt (9, 1976), the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Luis Gonzalez (9, 2001) and the Reds’ Aristides Aquino (eight, 2019).
Seven of the homers acquired right here on the nine-game journey, and Morel’s solo homer throughout the ninth Sunday prevented them from getting shut out for the first time in 2023. It’s a excellent feat for Morel, who retains slugging regardless of the place supervisor David Ross locations him throughout the lineup.
The Cubs are eager to take the nice (offensive firepower) with the unhealthy (shaky safety) when it comes to Morel. Proper now his effectivity on the plate has made up for defensive miscues.
“Christopher is way from a completed product in relation to plate self-discipline and what he understands that he can deal with,” hitting coach Dustin Kelly acknowledged. “We’re by no means going to take the aggressiveness away from him. It’s a must to reside with the swing and miss for him. … As he will get extra snug, he’s going to get higher and higher at eliminating pitches.”
3. A .203 frequent with runners in scoring place
It has turned a well known finish outcome for the offense.
The Cubs have confirmed they may get runners on base. However the giant hits proceed to elude them after the lineup was in sync through the first three weeks.
Ross, Kelly and players protect highlighting the positives of how they’ll get on base. It hasn’t helped flip points spherical, though, as runs have been at a premium in losses in Houston and Sunday at Residents Financial institution Park.
The Cubs think about sticking to their complete technique finally will yield the manufacturing they anticipate. The freeway journey as soon as extra represented the precariousness of their run-scoring capability, notably when the margin for error by the pitching staff stays so small.
“We’ve got an sufficiently old and a seasoned sufficient group to the place there hasn’t been any strain,” Kelly acknowledged. “I imagine all of them understand that these moments and folks circumstances come up on account of we’re hitting workers. We’re going to have guys on base and they also’re going to get these options. All of them want these options.
”In the event that they go up there with their plan, they get their pitch to hit and they also put the barrel on it, you’ll be capable of’t truly administration it exterior of that. I imagine there was considerably little little bit of unhealthy luck, nevertheless that group in there’s so, so veteran that it doesn’t get to them as rather a lot.”