Cincinnati, OH-(ENEWSPF)- Let’s turn the calendar page back to April 8th. The Cubs were entering their home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 2-7 record after 3 consecutive series losses on the road in Texas, Atlanta, and Milwaukee to begin the season.
Despite a high-powered offense led by superstar shortstop Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and surprise offseason acquisition Daniel Descalso, things were looking grim for the northsiders. This was especially true on the pitching side where the bullpen collectively had a combined ERA of 8.92.
The worst in all of MLB.
In the starting rotation, southpaws Jon Lester and Cole Hamels remained solid while Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana, and Yu Darvish struggled early.
Maybe their run of making a 5th straight postseason was over? Were teams starting to figure them out? Were they finally running out of gas? Was skipper Joe Maddon still going to be the manager at the All-Star break? Some of these questions were lingering in the back of some Cubs’ fans minds.
Since then, the Cubs have compiled a 22-7 record across their last 29 ballgames to catapult them to a 24-14 record and put them at the top of the NL Central standings a full 2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.
During this stretch, the Cubs have not lost a series in the last five weeks. They are 9-0-1 in that time frame. It is pretty impressive considering they have won series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and two big NL Central showdowns by sweeping the Cardinals last weekend and taking 2 of 3 vs. the Brewers this past weekend.
Ace Jon Lester now leads all of MLB with a 1.16 ERA to go along with a 3-1 record overall, Cole Hamels remains undefeated with a 3-0 record and 3.08 ERA, Kyle Hendricks is starting to look like the 2016 version of himself going 2-1 over his last 4 starts with a 2.48 ERA, and Jose Quintana has been solid compiling a 4-1 over his last 6 starts with a 3.17 ERA.
Match that with a bullpen that has improved immensely and dropped their team ERA to 3.77, the Cubs are playing like a complete team.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Cubs’ pitching staff ranks 2nd in the National League and 3rd in MLB with a 3.44 ERA.
The Cubs are looking to keep the momentum going in Cincinnati tonight against the Reds (18-23).
First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM with Kyle Hendricks (2-4 3.19) vs. Tanner Roark (3-1 3.27).