23-6. Are you kidding me? 23-6!
After the Cubs’ latest win over the Washington Nationals, their sixth in a row, I’ve looked at the MLB standings several times to try to convince myself that this is real. But I still don’t think it’s hit me yet. The Cubs have four more wins than any other NL team and have already opened up a 7.5 game lead in their division.
But it’s not just the team’s record. It’s also the individual performances. We’re watching Jake Arrieta – Sunday’s starter – in the middle of a stretch of pitching dominance that only comes along once in a generation. And there seems to be a different hero on offense every day. The team was devastated by Kyle Schwarber’s season-ending injury in just the third game of the season, but guys like Tommy La Stella, Javier Baez, and Matt Szczur have stepped up in his absence.
Of course, Anthony Rizzo is the main guy in the Cubs’ lineup, while Kris Bryant also continues to develop into a star. But the rest of the team continues to come through. Ben Zobrist, for example, has been on fire the past few days after getting off to a somewhat slow start. It seems like no matter what the situation, no matter who manager Joe Maddon is putting out there, they are getting the job done.
The Cubs are off to their best start since 1907 and are the first National League team since the 1977 Dodgers to start a season 23-6 or better. They were expected to be World Series contenders at the beginning of the season, so this isn’t a total shock. But that doesn’t diminish how well the Cubs have played and how enjoyable this is. It’s about more than just having talented players. It’s also about a group of guys that has what it takes to play like a team and to feel like they’re still in the game, no matter what the situation. It’s incredible for us fans to watch.
Quite simply, this team just cannot lose right now. After many years where it seemed like they couldn’t win, it’s a refreshing change. Sure, they’re getting contributions up and down their roster. But every break seems to be going the Cubs’ way too. On Saturday, for example, a soft two-run single by Ryan Kalish – an underdog story if there ever was one – and a dropped fly ball by reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper were key plays for the Cubs on their way to victory.
Obviously, there’s a very long ways to go this season. And the Cubs will likely hit a rough stretch at some point, maybe very soon. Baseball is unpredictable in that way. And the temptation will be there all year to look ahead to October and hope the Cubs don’t suffer a similar fate to that of last year’s team, when they lost to the Mets in the NLCS.
But I hope all you Cubs fans out there are taking the time to savor every moment right now. Getting to watch a team like this is a rare experience, not only for Cubs fans, but for fans of any team. We’ll be remembering these days for many years, especially if the Cubs can make a deep run into October.
Don’t get too complacent or too comfortable. Right now, sit back and enjoy every minute.