The Chicago Cubs came into the 2018 MLB season with a lot of excitement surrounding them. After falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS last season, Joe Maddon and company are expected to compete for a World Series appearance once again this season.
Theo Epstein and company made quite a few moves and changes this offseason. Jake Arrieta walked away in free agency to the Philadelphia Phillies, while the Cubs replaced him with Yu Darvish. Other moves were made as well, especially in the bullpen where Chicago added names like Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek.
Chicago is still led by Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, who are surrounded by big names offensively. Despite all of the talent on the roster, the Cubs have gotten off to a slow start in 2018 with a 2-3 record at this point.
While a 2-3 record isn’t normally something that makes fans panic, the Cubs have played those games against the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds. Both of those teams are expected to have very poor seasons, which has put a damper on the excitement in Chicago.
All of that being said, what takeaways can be seen for the Cubs from their first two series’ of the 2018 MLB season?
More Patience at the Plate is Needed
Perhaps the most disappointing stat for the Cubs through the first five games is listed in the above photo. Chicago has set a new National League record for strikeouts through five games. If the Cubs want their offense to reach its full potential, more patience and better discipline will be needed at the plate.
Kyle Schwarber’s Offseason Is Going to Pay Off
After a disappointing 2017 season, Kyle Schwarber decided to put in a lot of work this offseason, as ESPN noted. That has paid off early with a pair of home runs and three RBI’s. Schwarber looks much different and his production has been solid, which should give Cubs confidence in him moving forward.
The Bullpen Is Much Better
One of the biggest needs this offseason was to find more help for the bullpen. That is something that the Cubs appear to have done, with players like Justin Wilson, Steve Cishek, Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop, and Eddie Butler all pitching very well. Chicago will need them to stay consistent, but things already look better in the bullpen.
Chicago Fans Panic Too Fast
That’s right, the fans are in panic mode and everyone knows it’s way too early. Chicago is one of the most talented teams in baseball, end of story. They will be just fine despite getting off to a slow start.
Javier Baez and Willson Contreras Are X-Factors
Offensively, the Cubs simply haven’t been getting the kind of production that they need. Part of the reason for their lack of production is due to the disappointing starts that both Javier Baez and Willson Contreras have had. Both players are needed in order for the Cubs to be a lethal offensive unit and they will both be X-Factors for the Cubs throughout the remainder of the season.
Expect to see the Cubs right the ship in the near future. We are just two series’ into the 2018 season and there have been quite a few bright spots for the Cubs to focus on in addition to the disappointments.
Chicago is still a World Series contender and are going to be very fun to watch throughout the remainder of the season as they begin playing to their potential.