Have the Cubs “righted” the ship? The upcoming 10-game road trip to Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago (against the White Sox at US Cellular Field) and Pittsburgh should shed a lot of light on that question.
After starting the just-completed home stand at Wrigley Field with 3 losses in 4 games, it was not looking good for the Cubs. But with miraculous come-from-behind victories on Thursday against the White Sox and Friday and Saturday against the Indians, a calm seemed to settle over the Cubs. A calm similar to that possessed by the Cubs in 2008 when the finished with the best record in the National League. On Sunday, the Cubs cruised through a 6-2 win over the Indians to complete the sweep over Cleveland and get Randy Wells his 1st major league victory.
Key players have started to swing the bat better during the 4-game winning streak. Derrek Lee has an 18-game hitting streak and now has his average up to .287. Milton Bradley has a 10-game hitting streak and has his batting average up to .248. Ryan Theriot has a modest 7-game hitting streak and now has his average heading back to the .300 mark at .282. And Geovany Soto has hits in 4 of his last 5 games and his batting average at .225. Not where their career numbers are, but at least they are trending in the right direction. Alfonso Soriano is the only Cubs player still in his hitting funk – with only 4 hits in his last 7 games. Luckily, 2 of those hits helped the Cubs win recent ball games, but his batting average still sits at .224. Despite the bad numbers, he still leads the Cubs with 14 HR’s and 43 runs scored.
Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir continue to provide sparks every so often, and seem more comfortable in the part-time contributing roles.
The starting pitching staff continues to go out there and throw quality starts, so they are keeping the Cubs in ball games. As long as they continue to pitch well, if the Cubs bats consistently provide 4-5 runs per game, the Cubs should win more than they lose.
The Cubs are 34-31 and they trail the Cards by 2.5 games. The Cubs take on the Braves in Atlanta tonight – making up a game that was rained out at the beginning of June. Ryan Dempster takes on Javier Vasquez.