By: Troy twitter= @HoopHead_Prod
Spring has sprung and the 2019 MLB season is underway!
Every new season holds its own amount of uncertainty with new faces in new places and a clean slate of 162 games of America’s National Pastime. However, that “new season smell” can become sour very quickly.
The Chicago Cubs have gotten off to a rough start and fans are restless, even though we’re only 10 games into a very long season. The Cubs woes are not for a lack of offense but rather struggles from the mound.
The Cubs are swinging big bats to start the year with 13 different players posting multi-hit games for the Northsiders. Javy Baez leads the team with 5 multi-hit outtings on the season; Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and Daniel Descalso each have 3 multi-hit games. As a team the Cubs are batting .289, second in the league at the time of writing. Chicago is also hitting the long-ball well with 8 different players going yard at least once this season. Javy Baez leads the team with 4 home runs; Contreras, Heyward, and Schwarber (3); first baseman Anthony Rizzo has two homers so far this season; Bryant, Caratini, and Descalso each have one. The Cubs are seventh in the league in total team home runs at the time of writing.
The success the Cubs have had at the plate has not translated to the work done on the mound. Other than ace Jon Lester, the Chicago pitching rotation has struggled, as well as the bullpen. Unfortunately, Lester was pulled after just three innings on Monday, in the Cubs first game at Wrigley Field for the 2019 season, with a hamstring injury and has been placed on the IL. The Cubs big signing ahead of the 2018 campaign, Yu Darvish, has failed to make a mark on the Chicago squad, dealing with injuries and an inconsistency that dates back to his pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. Whether its a mechanics issue or a lack of confidence, Darvish has left much of the Chicago fan base asking “Who are Yu?” Where starting pitching has faltered, the Cubs bullpen has continued to fall. Relievers Carl Edwards Jr and Mike Montgomery struggled in the appearances early in the season; Edwards Jr was sent to the Iowa Cubs in hopes that he’ll be more prepared when he does pitch in an MLB game again. Montgomery was placed on the 10-day IL and will be available again on April 15.
While the Cubs have struggled, they did manage to scratch a 10 run shutout victory over the Pirates in the first game at Wrigley in 2019. It is the largest shutout victory in a home opener in Cubs franchise history, and Cubs fans hope this is a sign of things to come.
The Cubs and Pirates resume action on Wednesday April 10 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Darvish and Lyles will take the mound for their respective clubs.