Entering last week at 6-7, the Cubs have turned their fortunes around over the last seven days, posting a 5-1 record in their last six games. The Cubs now sit at 11-8 entering play on Tuesday, and have been red-hot offensively this past week. On Monday night the Cubs pounded out 14 runs on 17 hits in Pittsburgh in their most prolific offensive showing of the season, one that this lineup is surely capable of replicating many times this season. Here’s this weeks best and worst performers for the Chicago Cubs.
Jason Heyward (OF): Heyward has done everything he can possibly do to this point to make everyone believe that his 2016 season was a total apparition, including smacking three home runs and driving in 11 runs over the course of his last six games (22 at-bats). Heyward has collected seven hits in his last 22 at-bats, and as I mentioned three of them left the park. Heyward has also scored five runs this past week, coupled with his 11 RBI, Heyward has directly accounted for 16 runs.
Miguel Montero (C): Montero, the “back-up” catcher has recorded nine hits in his last 15 at-bats over the course of his last five games for the Cubs. Montero has a double, a home run, and a pair of RBI this past week, and has forced Joe Maddon to play him more than originally anticipated this season thus far. It’s worth noting, that Willson Contreras was also pretty hot last week, going 6-15 with a home run and five RBI. One hell of a platoon behind the plate for the Cubs right now.
The Bullpen: Last week I was pretty critical of the Cubs bullpen, and deservedly so, they were very bad as a unit. This week, I’m going to give them the credit that they deserve as a unit. Justin Grimm, Koji Uehara, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards and Wade Davis combined for 17.1 innings of one-run ball over the last seven days, striking out 21 hitters while allowing only six hits. The tables have done a full 180 degree turn in the last week, but I’m sure that they will go round and round a few more times this season.
The Starting Rotation: On the flip-side of the success that the bullpen has seen over the last seven days, the starting rotation has been bad from top to bottom this past week. Jon Lester, John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks, Brett Anderson and Jake Arrieta have made six stars in the last seven days, over the course of those six starts (32 IP) the Cubs’ starters have allowed 25 runs on 40 hits, with seven of those leaving the park. Most definitely a week to forget for the starting rotation moving forward.
Javier Baez (INF): It’s been a tough week for the free-swinging, blind-tagging, blonde hair-wearing second-baseman. In his last five games, Baez has only three hits in 20 at-bats, and has stuck out a whopping eight times in that span. It’s been such a rough week for Baez, that Matt Spiegel of the Spiegel & Parkins Show reiterated his belief this morning that Baez’s offense will never be good enough to be an everyday starter, despite his amazing defensive skill-set.
Brian Duensing (LHP): Duensing was left out of the mention of the bullpen in the “Three Up” portion of this feature, and that my friends was intentional. While the bullpen was excellent this week for the Cubs, Brian Duensing was definitely not. In 4.1 innings of work this past week, Duensing allowed three runs on seven hits, and opponents hit .350 against him in his four appearances.