The Chicago Cubs pulled out a big win against the Kansas City Royals yesterday, thanks to David Ross's clutch hit in the 11th. It was a really tough homestand that started with the Washington Nationals, and the Cubs went 2-3 with a rain cancelation on Saturday.
Going into the season, I knew the Cubs were behind the Cardinals and the Nationals, and this has proven to be true through May. However, with the team currently four games over .500, the Cubs are quickly getting to the point where they will compete with the NL's best.
Below are five thoughts as the Cubs begin a nine-game road trip in Miami tonight.
1. Let's get a blowout win. Before Friday (8-4 loss to Kansas City), the Cubs hadn't won or lost a game by more than three runs since a 6-1 victory over the Mets on May 12. Furthermore, the team played 16 games decided by one run in May. It'd be nice to break one open early again soon, and hopefully we'll see a couple of those against the Marlins.
2. What will happen with left field? I do think Junior Lake looks like a better player this year, and I don't think it's a coincidence that Coghlan is hitting better now that Lake is around to compete for time in the outfield. However, until Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, or anyone else is around, the team needs one of these guys to hit closer to .250 than .200. The inconsistency is frustrating, as both Lake and Coghlan show signs of being quality left fielders.
3. On a related note, Dexter Fowler's average is down to .235. He went 0-for-9 with five strikeouts against Kansas City. The Cubs are used to having center field questions, but this current streak is disappointing. I was hoping Fowler would be a guy the team would want to bring back next year, especially since it doesn't look like Albert Almora is knocking down the door any time soon. Of course, the formerly mentioned Zobrist rumors could be a possible remedy.
4. The bullpen seems to mostly be back on track. Cubs relievers NOT named Pedro Strop only allowed two earned runs last week. Of course now that I said that, we can probably expect a bad week. At the very least, it's exciting that Carl Edwards Jr. has been promoted to AAA. The less Brian Schlitter pitches, the better, as far as I'm concerned. Even in Iowa.
5. Let's beat the teams we're supposed to beat. The Marlins are starting this series at 20-31, and the Cubs need to take at least two of the three games in Miami. Heading to Washington for four and Detroit for two, the final six games of this trip will be difficult. Hopefully the shorts and painted toe nails will help!