Do the Cubs have enough?

Stephen Young

Since 2015, Cubs fans have hopped on the bandwagon and expected a World Series victory every year since. Three years ago was a year for hope for Chicago, taking an enormous step in the right direction, advancing all the way to the NLCS. The following year was obviously a success for the franchise as they took home the World Series trophy for the first time since 1908, causing the entire city to erupt with excitement. However, 2017 was a letdown for the club, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the NLCS. Despite that, it is now near the end of the 2018 season, and the Cubs are in a familiar place, leading their division.

In 2018, the Cubs have had a strong season, maintaining first place in the National League Central for the majority of the season with a record of 84-61 as of Sep. 13. Chicago has a strong home record sitting at 45-26; however, a lackluster road record of just four games above .500 has kept the division race with both the Cardinals and the Brewers tight.

Despite the Cubs controlling the National League, they have shown many weaknesses since the All Star break. Chicago’s pitching has been far below expectations, as two of the Cubs main off season acquisitions have not had nearly the season everyone expected. Yu Darvish, a potential number one starter, has been sidelined since June with elbow soreness. Brandon Morrow, signed to replace Wade Davis as the Cubs’ closer, hasn’t pitched since the All Star Break due to a sore arm. The remaining Cubs starters, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Mike Montgomery and Kyle Hendricks, have had solid, but not spectacular, seasons. Cole Hamels, acquired from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline, has been the Cubs most consistent starter since early August.

On offense, while the Cubs are third in the league in runs scored, their situational hitting continues to be a problem. Despite having the second best batting average in all of baseball at .261, the Cubs can’t seem to find hits at the right time. As a result, the Cubs’ record in one run games is just 9-8. The Cubs offense has also been disrupted due to injuries to key players. Kris Bryant has missed a total of 59 games, Addison Russell has missed 23, and Jason Heyward has missed 32 games. Russell and Bryant are now healthy and back in the lineup, and Heyward is expected to return shortly. Cubs fans remain hopeful that a fully healthy lineup will begin to get timely hits in key situations as the season draws to a dramatic close.

A World Series victory is not looking bright for the Cubs; however, fans remain hopeful. In order to make some noise in the postseason, the Cubs need to clean up their pitching and improve on their situational hitting, and they need to do it quickly. October is right around the corner, and all Cubs’ fans are hoping for another championship.