The Chicago Cubs closed out the month of April with a victory over the Cincinnati Reds. In the game, they found a solution to not letting late leads get away, and that is to put up a crooked number of their own in the ninth inning. With the Cubs continuing to grind out games, what can be made of their offense after the first month of the 2014 season?
Unfortunately for Chicago, they happen to be in the same division as the team holding the best record in the league, which has already put them 10 games back in the standings. In a year that figured to be a challenge, the hot start by the Milwaukee Brewers has really made it a difficult climb for the Cubs for the remainder of the season.
Looking into the offense, the bats are trying to do their part. While they have certainly gone through their fare share of slumps, they have also put together a few good games as well. While they have been shut out four times in the first month, they have also scored eight or more runs four times also.
The Cubs have scored 99 runs in their first 26 games, which is towards the bottom of the league in run production. However, that total is more than the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves, who have played the same amount of games. The Braves (17-9) have the exact opposite record of the Cubs through the first month. The difference has clearly been on the pitching side, which has been the Achilles’ heel for the Cubs, especially late in games.
Starlin Castro has had a great first month of the year along with Emilio Bonifacio. While conditions have not always been great, the Cubs do have four players who have each hit four home runs in Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Mike Olt, and Welington Castillo. From what was to be expected, the Cubs’ offense has done its part even, though the numbers may not reflect it.
To think that the Cubs could be in a similar position as the Braves is another gut shot to the fan base. The Braves’ starting rotation has done an incredible job, and for the most part the Cubs’ rotation has as well. It is head-scratching as to why Jeff Samardzija remains winless. Unlike the Braves, the Cubs did not win a series in the month of April. A big factor in that is a struggling bullpen.
For the offense, they can only hope to continue to grind out runs and hope that they are enough to hold up for a full nine innings.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.