The Cubs had a pretty interesting April, technically the second month of the baseball season, since they did start playing games on March 29th. This means the Cubs finish with a 14-9 record in just 23 games this past month but sure did look incredible down the stretch.
23 games in 30 days doesn’t sound like a lot, and you’re correct. The rain, snow, and cold all poured on the Cubs in April with five postponements including three in a four-day stretch. However, the Cubs have been able to play every day since April 18th, the last postponement of the month and looked really good.
In the last 11 games up to last night’s win over Colorado at Wrigley, the Cubs are 9-2 with the pitching staff looking sharp. During this current 5-game homestand, our Starting Five has yet to allow an earned run with lots of low-scoring wins over this stretch. They’ve scored three runs or less in every game during this homestand, but we sure do look like the 2016 World Series team but even better.
Going back to earlier in the month when the weather was nasty to the Cubs, so were the results of the games. The Cubs went just 5-7 from the 1st to the 17th and were out of sync. However, they were without Anthony Rizzo for most of the time in that stretch and the rotation was still down probably because of the unusually bad weather to start a season. Things weren’t going right and then the Cubs finally started to turn things around with a 2-1 series win over the Rockies in Coors Field that sparked this big run where they shouldn’t look back.
For the player performances on the offensive perspective, it was the month of Javy Baez, Albert Almora, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Baez was the MVP of the month batting .303/.347/.685 with a remarkable 7 home runs and 25 RBI. He leads the entire National League in runs batted in, one ahead of Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets. Kyle Schwarber had a pretty strong April too, batting .273/.392/.530 with 5 homers and 14 RBI. Albert Almora started playing more, batting .304/.351/.449 with 8 RBI in 20 games mostly in the leadoff spot. Finally, Ben Zobrist rounded out the group with the highest batting average on the team with a .308/.361/.412 split in 14 games.
Moving over to the pitching, Tyler Chatwood and Jon Lester were the two leaders of the month, not discounting the rest. Chatwood and Lester just produced the best numbers more consistently. Chatwood went 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 5 starts. Lester led the rotation with the lowest ERA, finishing 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Hendricks, Darvish, and Quintana weren’t quite as good, but were very strong down the stretch each posting no-earned run performances in their last start.
In addition to the starting pitching, the bullpen was quite solid as well. Three pitchers (Duensing, Edwards, Morrow) with 10+ appearances did not yield a single earned run. Morrow especially was good converting 7 saves in 7 opportunities. Pedro Strop also looked solid posting a 2-0 record with a 2.89 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 9 1/3 innings.
Finally, it is worth noting, Albert Almora made a treasure trove worth of defensive highlights all throughout the month, with probably enough clips for an entire season highlight reel. The Cubs Twitter nicely put together a sixty-second video that is worth your time without a doubt.
The Cubs had a very productive month of April despite the early struggles, and looked phenomenal down the stretch. May hopefully should bring the same results and if not, better ones with about everyone locked in.