The Cubs have not won anything, except for the first month of the season. With Monday’s 4-0 victory over the Pirates, the Cubs improved to 11-7 after 18 games and are four games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2009 season. With two games remaining on the schedule for April, the Cubs will begin play on May 1 with a record above the breakeven point.
Joe Maddon has his team playing good baseball and more importantly the Cubs are playing all nine innings … a concept so simple but something that hasn’t happened with the Cubs for a long time. Maddon talked about the importance of respecting the game in Spring Training, the players bought in and the result has been more wins than losses.
The Cubs are 5-4 at Wrigley, 6-3 on the road, 8-4 versus teams in the NL Central and 4-4 in one-run games.
The Cubs talked about the importance to getting off to a good start this year in Spring Training. And 18 games in, the players have backed up the talk of being contenders this season on the field.
After Monday night’s win over the Pirates, Anthony Rizzo told the beat writers, “We preached it in Spring Training. We got to survive April. We can’t put ourselves in a hole like we’ve done in years past. We’re doing a good job of coming to the park every day and playing with a lot of energy, having fun and really playing with a purpose.”
Jason Hammel credited Joe Maddon with instilling a winning attitude while allowing the players to have fun, be themselves and “just play baseball.”
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from Bruce Levine
Over the last 10 seasons, the Cubs have finished the first month of the season above .500 only two other times.
- 2014 – 9-16
- 2013 – 10-16
- 2012 – 8-15
- 2011 – 12-14
- 2010 – 11-13
- 2009 – 10-11
- 2008 – 17-10
- 2007 – 10-14
- 2006 – 13-10
Because of the way the 2006 season ended, the way the Cubs started the year is often forgotten. The season went south went Derrek Lee was injured in Los Angeles.
The Cubs have two more games this month against the Pirates before beginning May with three games at Wrigley with the Brewers. And the second month of the season will post a lot of challenges for the Cubs.
Starting May 4, the Cubs play the Cardinals for four games in St. Louis and wrap up the seven-game, two city trip with three in Miller Park. The left and center field bleachers are expected to be open when the Cubs begin a seven-game homestand on May 11 against the Mets (May 11-14) and Pirates. Following an off day on May 18, the Cubs begin a six game trip in two parks the team has struggled in over the years.
The Cubs play the Padres three games at PETCO Park (May 19-21) and end the west coast trip with three games against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field (May 22-24). The Cubs end May with a six-game homestand against the Nationals (May 25-27) and Royals (May 29-31).
There is a long way to go, but with two games left to go in the first month of the season, Miguel Montero’s hashtag says it all for the Cubs, #wearegood.