I think it’s rather important when the Cubs are having a season like this…stop right there! …the modern day Cubs have never had a season like this. I started following every Cubs game in 1977. There are only two regular seasons that come remotely close; 1984 and last year. The Cubs were very good in 2007 and 2008, yet in my opinion, any team that relied on Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot was never really that good.
I wrote on this blog earlier in the season about enjoying the ride, and not necessarily making this a World Champs or bust season. With this amazing start…of course we will be disappointed if they don’t win it all…but I still think it’s important to stop…pause…and enjoy the season.
Let’s consider these facts:
- The Cubs have won 23 games by 5 runs or more…more than half of their wins are “blowouts”.
- The Cubs currently have a 9.5 game lead over the Cardinals and 11.5 over the Pirates. Think about that for a second.
- Going into Wednesday’s game…the Cubs have won exactly 22 games at home, and 22 games on the road.
- The Pythagorean Win-Loss is a projection of what a team’s record should be based on the number of runs scored and allowed…here are the National League Division leaders:
Washington Nationals 40-25 actual 41-24 Pythagorean
San Francisco Giants 40-26 actual 37-29 Pythagorean
Chicago Cubs 44-19 actual 48-15 Pythagorean
Yes…that’s right…statistically the Cubs should have a better record.
- The Cubs currently lead the league in walks…if you read my book you know that EVERY time in their history that the Cubs lead the league in walks…they have won 95 plus games.
- As I was watching Pedro Strop come into Tuesday Night’s game and make Nationals hitters look silly…I thought to myself…Wow! We got this guy for Scott Feldman? What a steal! …oh, and we acquired Jake Arrieta in that deal as well.
- The Cub’s team ERA is 2.64…a full half a run ahead of the Mets 3.16 which is second in the League. The Cub’s pitching is definitely on a “regression” watch, yet even after a bit of normalization the Cubs staff will remain among the leagues’ best statistically.
- Among National League position player leaders in WAR…the Cubs have 3 of the top 10…Zobrist, Fowler and Bryant.
- Ahh…but what about defense? The Cubs have made some errors lately. Well, using Defensive Efficiency which is a measure of balls in play converted into outs…the Cubs lead the league at .733, followed by the Dodgers at .721 and the Nationals at .709 respectively. Anyone still think Jason Heyward isn’t worth all of that money? In fact, the Cubs .733 is tops in both the NL and AL.
- Okay, okay, its fan voting…but the Cubs could have 5 position players and the starting pitcher in the All-Star game.
- This may seem petty…but the Cubs currently have a 13 game lead over the Chicago White Sox. Put that one on the board.
- While this is another area that may be difficult to statistically quantify…the Cubs are probably positioned as well as any team to make trades. Even after the “graduations” of Bryant, Schwarber, Russell, Almora Jr., Baez, and Soler…they have players such as Dan Vogelbach…a lefty hitting first baseman who is still only 23 and has a slash line of .313/.434/.545 at AAA Iowa. The Cubs have numerous assets from which to deal. In my opinion they will be in the market for a reliever as well as another left-handed bat.
- While Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist have regressed a bit…Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo are beginning to trend upward. Barring injuries…the Cubs offense should improve over the last 100 games.
Wow… that’s some really good sh#t! However, take it from this grizzled old-timer…don’t even think about the play-offs yet…just soak this in every day. Cubs’ fans should make every game appointment TV…gaze over the stats with lovingly…and realize you are seeing something that has never happened before. I hate to use these comparisons…but I have to:
I watched every game of the 1985 Chicago Bears.
I think I missed only 2 regular season games during the Bulls 1995-96, 72-10 title season.
…2016 has that kind of feel for our Chicago Cubs.