Already this season, the Cubs are showing that a more versatile and deeper lineup means more runs most of the time. Having role players like Junior Lake and Justin Ruggiano makes the lineup deeper and tonight it showed it can result in offensive outbursts.
Tonight the Cubs scored seven runs en route to a 7-5 victory over the Pirates. They got contributions up and down the lineup with Anthony Rizzo, Lake and Mike Olt all chipping in. Lake and Olt hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning to extend the Cubs’ lead to 4-1. Whereas last season the lineup fell off after the first five hitters, this year’s lineup on any given day has much more depth.
With more depth comes more runs and usually with more runs comes more wins. That could be the case for the Cubs this season. In addition to a deeper lineup, they also have more players who are legitimate power threats. Olt and Ruggiano are both capable of hitting more than 20 home runs and they aren’t even considered some of the team’s best players. Clearly, Rizzo is capable of hitting 30 home runs and Castro has shown some power upside as well.
As the season roles on, everyone will see if the lineup can sustain their success they enjoyed tonight. Like any other team, the Cubs will experience ups and downs offensively, but if they can have more nights like tonight, they will surprise a lot of people this year. With a deeper lineup and stronger bench, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise by season’s end.