Cubs Make First Trade Deadline Deal, Get Lefty Reliever, but Not That Lefty Reliever

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

The Cubs finally made a trade for a left-handed reliever. However, the left-handed reliever in question is not one of the two that the fans expected to see in a Cubs uniform. The reliever in question was neither Andrew Miller nor Aroldis Chapman. Instead, the Cubs traded AAA Iowa first baseman Dan Vogelbach and AA Tennessee pitcher Paul Blackburn to the Seattle Mariners for… Mike Montgomery.

Now, the acquisition of Montgomery might not move the headlines like Miller or Chapman as it was thought that Vogelbach would get traded for either one of them, but Montgomery is nothing to shake a stick at. He is a six-foot-four left hander who is in his second major league season, both with the Mariners. The key stat that Montgomery brings for the Cubs is that left-handed batters are only hitting .164 off of him this season.

Montgomery immediately shores up the bullpen as he becomes the primary option to face left handers in late innings. He has a fairly high strike out rate per nine innings at 7.88.  Moreover, over the 61.2 innings pitched this season he has only given up three home runs. He brings with him four pitches—fastball, curveball, cutter, and change-up. Montgomery throws his fastball in the high 90’s. Overall, Montgomery provides insurance if the Cubs are unable to land Miller or Chapman. Another positive is that he has experience as a starter, so can come in and give Manager Joe Maddon a spot start if need be.

The Cubs gave up a top prospect in Vogelbach; however, moving him was in the best interest of both parties as he was blocked from reaching the majors due to Anthony Rizzo being firmly planted as the current and future first baseman. Vogelbach has had an impressive 2016 campaign at AAA. He was basically a major league hitter playing at the AAA level. He ends his time at AAA Iowa batting .318 with 16 home runs and 64 runs batted in. He does strike out a lot, but that is given with his big swing. It will be surprising if he is not promoted to Seattle right away, since he is ready to hit major league hitting.

Blackburn has had a solid year with AA Tennessee as he has gone 6-4 with a 3.17 earned run average. This season Blackburn has already pitched 102.1 innings. The six-foot-one right hander has struck out 72 batters this season while only walking 26. Neither player was considered a top 30 prospect for the Cubs at the beginning of the season. Overall, this deal for the Cubs was the right one in that they get much needed left-handed help in the bullpen and do not give up any prospects that they might needed to depend on in the future.

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Curing All-Star Break Boredom: My Hypothetical Pearl Jam Ultimate Album

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

It’s the Wednesday after the All-Star game, so no baseball today or tomorrow. As a result, instead of writing about the Cubs and baseball, I will focus on music; or, more so, the combination of the Cubs and music.

It is well known that Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder is a diehard Cubs fan having grown up in Evanston, Illinois. He can be seen showing his loyalty frequently at Cubs games. Moreover, Vedder and Pearl Jam have played shows in Wrigley Field in 2013 and 2015 and will be playing two more concerts this summer at The Friendly Confines on August 20 and 22. In honor of Eddie and Pearl Jam, I decided that if I was hypothetically given the power to put together a 10-track album of their greatest songs, this is what I would come up with:

Track 1: Alive

Track 2: Black

Track 3: Daughter

Track 4: Dissident

Track 5: Elderly Woman behind the Counter in a Small Town

Track 6: Corduroy

Track 7: Better Man

Track 8: Yellow Ledbetter

Track 9: Just Breathe

Track 10: Sirens

I think each of these songs stand alone, but altogether create an exceptional album. I am curious to see how others would put together such a Pearl Jam Greatest Hits Album. They have so many amazing songs that putting just 10 songs together is a difficult exercise. What would be yours?

 

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Cubs News & Notes: Cubs on Colbert, Almora’s Greatness, Fowler’s Return, Jimenez’s Amazing Futures Game Performance, Cubs Health

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

As the Cubs All-Stars prepare for tonight’s All-Star Game and the rest of the players get a much needed rest after playing 24 games in 24 straight days, here is a look at what is going on in Cubs news:

The Cubs All-Stars will have an excellent opportunity to influence home field advantage in the World Series. The game will be aired on Fox at 7:00 p.m.

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Three REALISTIC Moves That the Cubs Should Make To Fortify their Roster for Playoffs

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

The Cubs are headed back to Wrigley Field on Friday coming off of 5-4 road trip. In each of their series with Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington the Cubs showed why they are the best team in Major League Baseball and also where there should be a pause for concern. Despite owning a record of 44-20 and having a 9 ½ game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central, there is still room for improvement. Getting into the playoffs is a great accomplishment, but does not guarantee anything more than that as only one team can win the World Series. Here are the following three realistic moves that I feel the Cubs front office can/should make to fortify the team’s roster to become an even tougher team in the playoffs.

  1. Call Up Willson Contreras to become new starting catcher

On Wednesday night, Willson Contreras extended his hit streak to 20 games as he helped the AAA Iowa Cubs beat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 6-5. Contreras has basically dominated AAA pitching all season. He is currently batting .350 with an OPS of 1.030 and also has nine home runs to go along with 43 RBI. To say he is ready to hit major league pitching is an understatement. There is a ground swell in the Cubs fan base to bring Contreras up to the majors immediately. However, the front office insists that there in no rush to recall him from AAA. On a recent Cubs telecast CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reported that the team has not called up Contreras specifically because of the “big personalities” on the pitching staff and their possible unwillingness to respond positively to a rookie catcher.

It is hard to fathom that a team that is so committed to winning a World Series would allow ego to get in a way of that ultimate goal. Yes, the pitchers may feel more comfortable working on game plans with Miguel Montero and David Ross, but that still does not help the line-up when they are hitting .210 and .237 respectively and have a combined 7 home runs and 35 RBI on the season. Moreover, neither catcher has an on-base percentage over .340.

Thus, as it stands, the “big personalities” of the pitchers is dictating that the front office would rather have catchers who are not hitting above .240 or getting on base over .340, because they do not want to force their pitchers to work with a hot-hitting rookie catcher. The starting rotation is made of all veterans so I am sure if they want to shake-off Contreras when he calls for a breaking ball and they want to throw fastball they will. In the end, the pitchers will get what they want no matter what.

With that in mind, wouldn’t it make all the sense in the world to bring up Contreras now so that he can gain experience and learn to work with the rotation? I think what is not being said by the front office is that they would rather keep Contreras down in AAA instead of having to make the tough decision of releasing Montero who is making $12 million this year or David Ross who at 39 years-old is scheduled to retire at the end of the year. Yes, either decision is tough, but the questions are what is at stake and what is most important? Since there is no sense of keeping three catchers, my thought would be to designate for assignment Montero and allow him to catch on with another team. The time is now to make a move and to prove just how committed both the front office, the pitching staff, and the rest of the team is to winning the World Series.

  1. Trade for Jay Bruce to become permanent left fielder/right fielder

Many fans would love to see the Cubs make a push for the Toronto Blue Jays slugging outfielder Jose Bautista, but the Jays are in the thick of the American League East. As a result, they will most likely be buyers rather than sellers heading into the trade deadline. Thus, the best outfielder that is primed to be traded is Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are currently 19 games (Yes, 19 games!) behind the Cubs in the NL Central and, therefore, will assuredly be sellers at the trade deadline. The Reds will look to trade Bruce since he will become a free agent at the end of the season.

Adding Bruce’s bat to the lineup could be the difference maker in the playoffs for the Cubs. As of now he is having another solid year, batting .273 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI. His 15 home runs would tie for the team lead with Kris Bryant and his 51 RBI is two more than Anthony Rizzo’s team leading 49 RBI. Many would argue that the Cubs would prefer a right handed bat to balance out the line up a little more. However, Bruce actually hits left handers just as well as right handers. Currently Bruce has a .261 average against left handers. As a result, it wouldn’t be a determinant to add his left handed bat behind Rizzo. Also, it would be between Manager Joe Maddon, Bruce, and current right fielder Jason Heyward to determine which player should play which outfield corner position.

The market will determine how much the Cubs would have to give up to get Bruce. The Reds will assuredly get a number of offers by contenders to try to acquire Bruce in order to boost their line-up. I believe a package of two prospects and maybe Jorge Soler might entice the Reds to send him Chicago. Being that Bruce would be a 3-4 month rental the Cubs should only give up mid-level prospects and not one of their top prospects such as Contreras, Albert Almora, Jr., or Gleyber Torres.

  1. Trade for Andrew Miller to Serve as Set-up Man to Rondon

Buster Olney reported on ESPN.com that it would take a package of Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber to send to the New York Yankees for Andrew Miller. The tall hard throwing left hander is exactly what the Cubs need to bridge the gap between the starters and closer Hector Rondon. Miller owns a 1.30 ERA and a WHIP of 0.69. He was also seven out of eight in save opportunities while he held down the closer’s role during Aroldis Chapman’s suspension.

If there is one area that the Cubs need an upgrade it is relief pitching. The Cubs are currently sitting 10th in MLB in bullpen team ERA at 3.48 despite the Cubs relievers throwing the fewest amount of innings in the majors with 168. The Cubs front office cannot feel comfortable with the relief corps they currently have and settling on a lesser option than Miller could be all the difference in the world in terms of winning the World Series and not. Miller is that good to be the difference-maker.

If the Yankees want Schwarber and Baez, then why not complete the deal? Neither is a starter on the team. Baez is a super utility guy and, yes, he is a spark plug, but you also have guys like Chris Coghlan and Matt Szczur who can also perform in that role as well. Schwarber is out for the season and when he comes back he would most likely be relegated to left field since Contreras will be settled in as the starting catcher. Schwarber’s outfield defense is below average to put it mildly. So why would the Cubs be adamant that they will not give him up when there is really no place for him as a starter? It has been widely documented that experts feel that Schwarber’s future is most likely as a designated hitter on an American League roster. So sending him to an AL team and getting back a pitcher like Miller, who will remain under contract through 2018, would be the ideal situation for all parties.

Since the Yankees are in need of a future first baseman one trade chip that might interest them would be Dan Vogelbach at AAA Iowa. The Cubs will eventually have to move Vogelbach since he is blocked at his position by Anthony Rizzo. Vogelbach’s AAA numbers may look appealing to the Yankees as he is hitting .313 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI. Maybe the Cubs can send Vogelbach, another prospect, and either Schwarber or Baez to New York for Miller instead of having to give up both Schwarber and Baez?

Conclusion
The thought process here is to fill in the holes that will place the Cubs in an even better position come playoff time without giving up too much. Moving Contreras up will only force the Cubs to designate Miguel Montero for assignment and eat the remainder of his $12 million contract for this season. Adding Jay Bruce’s bat to the Cubs line-up should cost the Cubs a few mid-level prospects and possibly a major leaguer like Jorge Soler. To obtain the services of Andrew Miller the Cubs will have to decide to part ways with Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber or possibly Dan Vogelbach or another top prospect. Although some might argue that the Cubs may be giving up too much; however, a roster that includes Willson Contreras at catcher, Jay Bruce in the outfield, and Andrew Miller as the 8th inning set up reliever would make the Cubs an even more formidable team come playoff time than they are now.

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Cubs Notes: Cubs Lose 8 of 12, Offense needs to be October-Proof, Heyward Return, Candelario Heating Up, Rizzo’s Slump, How Fowler Became a Switch-Hitter

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By Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

The Cubs dropped the first game of their series with the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 in heartbreaking fashion, a 2-out ninth inning walk-off home run by Randal Grichuk. The Cubs held a 3-1 lead in the seventh until John Lackey gave up a 2-run home run to Matt Adams. The loss was the eighth in the last twelve games. More concerning was the fact that the Cubs could only generate three runs, which is a sign that the offense continues to struggle. Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell are the hitters they really need to get going, but showed no signs of breaking out of their slumps. Here is what some of the columnists are saying about the Cubs:

 

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110-Years in the Making: A Look at the 1906 World Series between the Cubs and White Sox in Anticipation for a Possible Rematch

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

It is the second week of May and the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs find themselves in the unique position of both sitting atop of MLB standings. The White Sox lead the American League at 23-12; a 1 ½ game lead over the Baltimore Orioles and have a 5 game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The Cubs at 25-8 lead the National League by 4 games over the New York Mets and 7 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. Both teams have shown that they are the “real deal” and not just beneficiaries of a lucky start to the 2016 MLB season. Now, many are envisioning the possibility of a crosstown World Series, which would turn the city of Chicago upside-down with excitement. However, this would not be the first time these two teams played against each other for the World Series. In 1906 World Series the White Sox from the South Side faced the Cubs of then the West Side. In anticipation of a possible rematch 110 years in the making, here’s a closer look at what happened in that series.

The Cubs ran away with the NL pennant by winning an all-time record 116 wins. Their overall record of 116-36 and a win percentage of .763 remains a record to this day (the 2001 Seattle Mariners tied the wins mark of 116 but lost 10 additional games for a 116-46 record and a .716 win percentage).The team was led by the infield of Frank Chance (1B), Joe Tinker (SS), Johnny Evers (2B) and Harry Steindfeldt (3B), along with catcher Johnny Kling. The pitching staff was led by Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown, who won 26 games and had a minute 1.04 ERA. Frank Chance also served as the manager. The Cubs won the pennant by 20 games over the New York Giants even though they had won 96 games themselves.

The White Sox grinded their way to the AL pennant with a record of 93-58, three games ahead of the New York Highlanders, despite being hailed as the “Hitless Wonders” due to their AL-worst .230 team batting average. Amazingly, not one starting position player had a batting average over .300. In fact, second baseman Frank Isbell had the highest batting average among starters at .279. The Sox had a formidable starting rotation, though, of Frank Owen, Nick Altrock, Ed Walsh and Doc White. The team was lead by player/manager Fielder Jones who guided them to a then record 19-game mid-season win streak the pushed them into first place.

Heading into the World Series the press and the general public felt that the White Sox didn’t stand a chance against the mighty Cubs. On paper this look like a heavily one-sided contest that the White Sox could not overcome. However, it turned out, to this day, to be one of the greatest World Series upsets ever in MLB history.

Game 1, which was played on the Cubs’ West Side Grounds (eventually called West Side Park), was a match-up between the White Sox’s Nick Altrock and the Cubs’ Mordecai Brown. The game turned into a pitchers’ duel, which was the exact type of game the light-hitting White Sox needed to start off the series. The pitchers were both throwing shutouts until the fifth inning when the White Sox scored a run off of Brown. They scored another run off of him in the sixth before the Cubs finally responded with a run off of Altrock in the bottom of the sixth. The pitchers continued their duel and they both pitched complete games. The Cubs never could get another run to tie the game and lost Game 1 2-1. Both teams only had four hits apiece.

Game 2 was a change of venue to the Sox’s South Side Park III. The game featured the kind of performance that many expected out of the Cubs. Ed Reulbach held the White Sox to just one run on one hit. The offense scored seven runs on ten hits and chased White Sox starter Doc White out of the game in the fourth inning. The Cubs were led Steinfeldt who went 3-3 with one RBI and Tinker who was 2-3 with two runs and one RBI.

Game 3, back at West Side Grounds, was another type of game that favored the offensively-challenged White Sox. Walsh pitched a complete game shutout against the Cubs only giving up two hits. Impressively, he struck out twelve and walked only one. Even more impressively, the two hits he gave up were both in the first inning—a single by Solly Hofman and a double by Frank Schulte. The Cubs starting pitcher Jack Pfiester also pitched a complete game, but gave up three earned runs on four hits.

Game 4, returning to South Side Park III, was another low-scoring pitchers’ duel between the Cubs’ Mordecai Brown and the White Sox’s Nick Altrock. Both pitchers threw complete games, but Brown was just a bit better as the Cubs won 1-0. Brown only gave up two hits while striking out five and walking two. Altrock gave up seven hits and the all-important run in the top seventh when Evers knocked in Chance to put the Cubs up 1-0 for good.

Game 5, at West Side Grounds, is where the White Sox bats finally came alive as they scored eight runs on twelve hits for an 8-6 win over the Cubs. The first inning saw the White Sox score a run on Ed Reulbach. The Cubs responded with three runs in the bottom of the first off of Ed Walsh. However, the White Sox would go on to score two in the third, four in the fourth, and one more run in the sixth. Walsh got the win and Pfiester, who relieved Reulbach in the third inning, would take the loss. Second baseman Frank Isbell led the way for the White Sox going 4-5 with three runs and two RBI. Also, shortstop George Davis went 2-5 with two runs and three RBI.

Game 6 became the closeout game held at South Side Park III. The Cubs got a quick run in the first inning off of Doc White, but the White Sox countered with three runs in the first and four runs in the second to take a 7-1 lead. The White Sox were able to chase Mordecai Brown in the second inning. By the time Brown was taken out of the game he gave up seven earned runs on eight hits without striking out a batter. Orval Overall came in on relief and was able to slow the suddenly viable White Sox offense, but by then it was too late. The Cubs would get two more runs off of White, but would never make much of a threat to the White Sox lead. The Sox won the game 8-3. They were lead by right fielder Ed Hahn who had four hits, while Davis had another three RBI game to go along with his two hits. First baseman Jiggs Donahue knocked in three while collecting two hits. Isbell also had three hits and an RBI.

In the end, the White Sox were able to beat the Cubs four games to two as it became one of the greatest upsets in World Series history. There was a full 23-game difference between the two ball clubs to end the season, which is still a record today. Nevertheless, the upset would not have a lasting effect on the Cubs as they would go on to become the first back-to-back World Series Champions the following two years in 1907 and 1908. The Cubs and White Sox have yet to find themselves opponents in the World Series, but with the advent of interleague play the rivalry has rekindled on the field among players rather than fans in the bars. However, with the hot starts by both teams this season it is as great a possibility as ever that Chicago might see a World Series rematch between Cubs and White Sox. It appears that both fan bases are ready for the rematch!

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Can Arrieta Become MLB’s First 30-Game Winner Since Denny McLain in 1968?

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

Chicago Cubs all-world pitcher Jake Arrieta won on Thursday to push his record to 5-0 in his first five starts of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. That win extended Arrieta’s consecutive win streak to 16, which is the longest streak in the major leagues in a decade. Joe Maddon decided to pull Arrieta out after five innings, which ended his streak of quality wins at 24—two short of Bob Gibson’s record.

At the beginning of the season experts were focused on whether or not Arrieta or Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the best pitcher in baseball. Now, after his second no-hitter, experts have begun to compare these past two years to those of Gibson in 1967-68 and Sandy Koufax from 1963-1966. Although Arrieta has plenty of work to do before he can cement himself among those greats he is certainly on his way this year with the 5-0 start.

Given Arrieta’s dominance over the past two years coupled with his 5-0 start it is fair (if not fun) to pose the question, “Can Arrieta become MLB’s first 30-game winner since Denny McLain won 31 in 1968?” Even though the thought of a 30-game winner nowadays seems outlandish, could all the elements be set in place for it to occur? You have (1) a pitcher at his peak on (2) a first place team who (3) provides 9.42 runs in support per game started and (4) already has five wins before the calendar has turned to May.

For those who think the modern game prevents players today from reaching such lofty goals only have to look at the 2012 Triple Crown season by Miguel Cabrera. Prior to that season many experts thought it would be impossible for a player to lead a league in all three major batting categories. And why would they think otherwise? No player had won the Triple Crown since the Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Moreover, since 1878 the feat had only been accomplished 16 times among 14 players. Yet, Cabrera was able to achieve what many thought was impossible. Still, like Arrieta today, the elements for even a chance of it to occur were in place. At the time of the 2012 season, Cabrera was 29 years old, in the middle of his peak years, and was on a first place team that was battling until the last three games for a playoff spot. Cabrera’s accomplishment was able to change the narrative surrounding the Triple Crown from it being impossible to it could happen again (see Mike Trout and/or Bryce Harper). So, can Arrieta change the narrative of the 30-game winner like Cabrera did with the Triple Crown? Possibly.

Still, how hard is it to win 30 games in an MLB season? Similar to the Triple Crown, since 1901, the 30-game threshold has only been reached 19 times. Here is the list of those pitchers:

Pitcher Season Wins Team
Denny McLain 1968 31 Detroit Tigers
Dizzy Dean 1934 30 St. Louis Cardinals
Lefty Grove 1931 31 Philadelphia A’s
Jim Bagby 1920 31 Cleveland Indians
Pete Alexander 1917 30 Philadelphia Phillies
Pete Alexander 1915 31 Philadelphia Phillies
Walter Johnson 1913 36 Washington Senators
Walter Johnson 1912 33 Washington Senators
Smoky Joe Wood 1912 34 Boston Red Sox
Jack Coombs 1910 31 Philadelphia A’s
Ed Walsh 1908 40 Chicago White Sox
Christy Mathewson 1908 37 New York Giants
Christy Mathewson 1905 31 New York Giants
Jack Chesbro 1904 41 New York Highlanders
Joe McGinnity 1904 35 New York Giants
Joe McGinnity 1903 31 New York Giants
Christy Mathewson 1903 30 New York Giants
Cy Young 1902 32 Boston Americans
Cy Young 1901 33 Boston Americans

The frequency of 30-game winners is astonishing. Since 1920 there have only been four players to win 30 games. Moreover, if you subtract the times in which a pitcher accomplished the feat over multiple seasons the number of pitchers overall is reduced to 13. Thus, for Arrieta to reach such an accomplishment would be remarkable.

For Arrieta to win 30 games a number of factors will have to come into play with health being the biggest factor. Another major factor is how many starts Arrieta will get this season. For instance, last season Arrieta started a career-high 33 games, which if repeated would mean Arrieta would have to not only practically be perfect in every game he pitches but would also need a decision in just about every start. In comparison, Denny McLain needed 41 starts in order to win 31 games in 1968. In today’s five-man rotations 41 starts would be impossible.

An ideal and realistic number of starts would be 35. Such a number of starts would provide a little leeway for an off-game and a no-decision. Another factor is the potential of Manager Joe Maddon resting Arrieta if the Cubs should have a substantial lead for home field advantage in the National League. Maddon will assuredly give Arrieta rest in preparation for the playoffs if the Cubs have the best record in the NL locked up. As a result, a team or two will need to be battling the Cubs for best record in the NL for Maddon to keep sending Arrieta out every fifth game.

To say it is impossible for Arrieta to accomplish such a feat is short-sighted, as baseball is a sport of possibilities. Yes, it is difficult for Arrieta or any other pitcher to win 30 games. But with the right elements in place anything can happen. If Arrieta can stay healthy and get 35 starts and the Cubs continue to give him generous run support then at the very least he has a shot.

With one month into the season it is evident that something magical is happening on the North Side this year. The Cubs have had their best start of the season since 1907 and we all remember that squad and how that season ended. If the Cubs can join those 1907 and 1908 teams and win the World Series this year then why can’t Arrieta also win 30 games to lead them? In baseball anything is possible.

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Cubs Notes: A Look at Some Cubs Impressive Statistics, Team Chemistry, Dexter Fowler’s Offseason Paying Off, Reason for Jake Arrieta’s Struggles in Baltimore, Journalists Running Out of Things to Say About the Cubs

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

The Cubs stand 14-5 today, which is their best start since the 1907 season. Currently, the Washington Nationals have a better record at 14-4 in Major League Baseball. To say that the Cubs have met expectations is an understatement, because even the most optimistic fans would have felt greedy if they asked for this start to the season heading into Game 20 on Tuesday versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Here is a look at some promising statistics:

  • The Cubs already stand 3.5 games ahead of the second place St. Louis Cardinals, which is a nice cushion for not even 20 games into the season.
  • The Cubs lead the majors with a +68 run differential; the next closest is the Cardinals with +40.
  • Not only do they win at Wrigley Field but they win on the road as well having won their first four road series this season. Their overall road record is 10-3.
  • Jake Arrieta is leading the NL in wins with 4. While Jason Hammel and Arrieta are second and third in NL ERA with 0.75 and .087 respectively. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda leads with a 0.36 ERA.
  • Anthony Rizzo is second in home runs and RBI with 8 and 21 respectively, behind Bryce Harper and his 9 home runs and 23 RBI.
  • Dexter Fowler is second in the NL in batting with a .385 average behind Nationals Daniel Murphy who has a .397 average.
  • Despite leading the league in runs and run differential the Cubs are only eighth in the NL in team batting average at .255. However, their team average should start to trend upward as Rizzo and Jason Heyward are starting to raise their averages from a slow start to the season.

Suggested Articles for Fans to Read:

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Cubs News: Cubs Leading In Several Pitching Categories, Jesse Rogers’ Mailbag, Chicago Tribune’s Original Article on Cubs First Game at Weeghman Park, Power Shift in the NL Central, and the Changing Rivalry between Cubs and Cardinals fans

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Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.

  • The Cubs go for a series sweep today against the St. Louis Cardinals after getting two strong outings by starters John Lackey and Jason Hammel as well as solid performances by the bullpen. The Cubs have the best record in the majors at 11-3 and are now second in the majors in earned run average at 2.15 (Washington has a 2.14 ERA). The pitching staff is leading the majors in quality starts with 13 and batting average against with .199. They are also leading the National League in fewest walks given up with 28.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers answers twitter mailbag questions about Theo Epstein’s contract, the next possible call-up, who should hit in the three-hole, and much more.
  • The Chicago Tribune reposted the April 20, 1916 article that documented the Cubs first game at Weeghman Park. I recommend this as a read for any fan of the Cubs or baseball enthusiast as it captures the celebration of the Cubs move to the North Side and the beginning of a remarkable history between a team, its fans, and stadium.
  • CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney writes that after the Cubs’ second straight win against the Cardinals the balance of power is beginning to shift in the National League Central.
  • The Chicago Sun Times’ Sean Greenberg addresses the controversy surrounding St. Louis Cardinals fans in a thought-provoking piece.

 

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