Admit it, you were doubting this team a little bit. After all, crazy stuff happens all the time in baseball. The World Series champion Cubs being ravaged by injuries and underwhelming performances doesn’t even register among the craziest.
Yet since doubts crept in, the Cubs have basically obliterated the competition. Thanks to monstrous second-half performances, the champs have the best team wOBA (.333) in the National League. You read that correctly; the Cubs have literally been the top offensive team in the NL this year, better than even the highly-touted Dodgers and Nationals.
In fact, the Cubs have been MLB’s best offensive team (.351 wOBA) since the break, led by Willson Contreras (.434 wOBA), Kris Bryant (.406 wOBA), Anthony Rizzo (.400 wOBA), and Kyle Schwarber (.380 wOBA).
|Tommy La Stella||68||4||0.268||0.366|
|Albert Almora Jr.||121||4||0.322||0.348|
And the immediate future looks brighter, too, now that the team is getting fully healthy. Addison Russell just came back off the DL and has made an immediate impact. Willson Contreras just returned from a hamstring strain that nearly killed me in the middle of August, and he’s taking pitches like a 30-year-old-veteran who hasn’t missed a game in six years. Also factor in Jake Arrieta’s return from a mild hamstring strain and the pitching staff clicking as a whole. Crack a smile with me.
Maybe crack a celebratory beer while you’re at it.
With nine games left in the season, the Cardinals have to overcome a five-game division deficit to catch the Cubs. If the Northsiders keep playing well, champagne will be flying in St. Louis. Except, hilariously, it will be in the visiting clubhouse, with Dexter Fowler smirking from the opposing locker room. Then on go the defending champs to Washington, looking like the team that celebrated like a “bunch of delirious 10-year-olds” a year ago.