Red-hot offense carries Cubs to sixth straight win
ST. LOUIS — Creating traffic on the base paths hasn’t necessarily been the Cubs’ problem this season.
Early in the season, delivering in those moments was.
Over the last nearly two months, the Cubs have started producing in those situations — and it’s led to some of their best baseball at the most important time of the year.
Since June 9, the Cubs are 25-15, following Thursday’s 10-3 win over the Cardinals — and in that time, their offense is slashing .291/.373/.435. They’re 4th in baseball in batting average with runners in scoring position in that time frame. Prior to June 9, the Cubs’ offense was middle of the pack — literally — hitting .256 (15th) with runners in scoring position.
Thursday in St. Louis, their success continued with runners on the basepaths. The Cubs were 6-for-17 (.353) with runners in scoring position against the Cardinals’ pitching staff, which had to piece together 25 outs after starter Miles Mikolas was ejected 14 pitches into his outing when he hit Ian Happ.
The Cubs made the Cardinals hurlers pay.
They scored 3 times in the 1st, added two more in the 3rd and another in the 4th putting the game out of reach before the Cardinals could advance a runner past second base against Justin Steele. Cody Bellinger (3-for-5, 1 R), Mike Tauchman (3-for-6, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), Christopher Morel (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R) and Yan Gomes (2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI) all had multi-hit games for the Cubs.
It was plenty for the lefty, who was dominant — again — pitching 6 innings of 1-run ball allowing just 5 hits and 3 walks and an Andrew Knizner solo home run in the 4th.
“He never gave in,” manager David Ross said. “To keep it at 1 was really impressive, I thought. They had a lot of traffic and for him to be able to continue to make pitches and do a nice job of pitching out of jams was really good on a hot day where … you can lose your legs, you can lose your focus and he just continued to make pitches.”
When the Cubs’ offense is clicking like they are, it can lead them to success, like the run they’ve been on as of late. They’ve won 6 in a row and are at the .500 mark for the first time since May 12. They sit just 4 games back of the final wild card spot and 5.5 games back of Milwaukee in the division.
The Cubs could not have picked a better time to go on this run.
With the trade deadline just 5 days away, the Cubs have moved firmly back into contending for a spot in baseball’s grandest stage and with the only positive run differential in the division and an offense firing on all cylinders, it should give them optimism of where they can be in 60 games.
“Oh, we’re on a nice little roll right here,” Ross said. “I’ve said multiple times, the record is what it is. There’s a lot of past experiences that go with your record and we’re trying to move forward. We’re playing really good baseball right now that’s what’s important to me.”