Here we are, at the “half way point” of the season. The Chicago Cubs are in first place in the National League Central with a 2.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and they have the best record in the National League. Some will no doubt say “so what, with that talent and payroll they should be.” That is the battle cry of the Brewers fans now that the Cubs took over first place from them. However, looking at the Cubs season as a whole, that is a big deal.
Outside of Jon Lester, the starting rotation has not been good. Yu Darvish has been injured pretty much all season, and when he has pitched, he has been bad. Tyler Chatwood has been horrific, walking the world. Kyle Hendricks has not been close to what he has been the last few years and Jose Quintana has been average at best. Mike Montgomery who has been filling in for Darvish has been impressive. But with the rotation in relative shambles, seeing the Cubs with the best record in the NL is a very big deal.
You can also add in that Anthony Rizzo has been less than good this year. He might be having one of the worst years of his career overall. Thankfully the offense is doing great, even with his struggles. Jason Heyward has found new life, Javier Baez is having a breakout year and Kyle Schwarber is living up to expectations. Then there is Albert Almora who probably should be playing more as he is in the running for a batting title all while playing Gold Glove defense.
This team is so good, that even in their struggles they are far and away the most talented and dangerous team in the National League, and they will only get better.
Rizzo will eventually come to form, Darvish will return and will hopefully be what we expected and Chatwood has to be able to pitch to what he was before he came here and turned into a human walk machine. Chatwood has been awful. No other way to say that. He walks the world and puts the team behind the figurative 8-ball. Yet, the team has a winning record when he pitches (no thanks to him). But he has to get better, he can not get much worse.
Tonight, the Cubs start a 5 game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. They can either bury them, or bring them back into the division race.
Let the games begin!