DENVER — Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel described the team’s offensive dynamic as “fun to be a part of.” Outfielder Ian Happ characterized its plate discipline and sheer number of hits as “pretty impressive.”
In a 6-4 victory against the Rockies on Sunday, the Cubs’ lineup racked up 13 base knocks. It was the fourth consecutive game that the Cubs have recorded double-digit hits and the fifth this season. Though it’s too early to put too much stock in those statistics, the way the team has generated runs has started to establish a new offensive identity.
“I want us to be an offensive club,” said -hitting coach Greg Brown, whom the Cubs hired in the offseason. “And so when teams come in to play us, there’s an expectation that we play good offense. We have different ways of scoring runs. We’re going to have to find runs up and down the lineup and through our bench.
“And so we need to be able to be a little bit more dynamic and be able to score. Our goal is to not be siloed into the three-run homer. We need to be able to do multiple things.”
Brown laid out those expectations in the spring. And the team lived up to them -Sunday.
Catcher Willson Contreras delivered the first run with a solo homer in the first inning. Outfielder Seiya Suzuki hit his fourth home run in the seventh inning. In between, the Cubs added on one or two runs at a time with strings of base hits interspersed with walks.
Third baseman Patrick Wisdom, who has been on a hot streak the last few games, -started a two-run rally at the bottom of the batting order in the second inning. He -doubled, Michael Hermosillo drew a walk and Nico Hoerner drove them in with a double.
The next inning, the top of the order -delivered, with two-hole hitter Nick Madrigal doubling and Frank Schwindel scoring him with a single.
Coors Field is notoriously a hitters’ park, providing a unique combination of elevation and a spacious outfield. Without four games in Colorado, the Cubs might not be leading the National League in doubles (24, tied with the Phillies). But the ballpark only accounts for so much.
“They have a really good staff,” Ross said of the Rockies’ pitching. “I don’t want to -dismiss the good at-bats, consistency. Look up and down the lineup, guys are getting their pitches. We’re willing to turn it over to the next guy, but we’re ready to hit our pitch from jump street. We’re not passive, we’re aggressive in the zone, and that can scare some teams out of the zone. We can string together a bunch of hits in a row, and we’re never out of a ballgame.”
In the small sample size of nine games, the Cubs have had a number of standout -offensive performances.
Suzuki logged 10 RBI in his first 22 big-league plate appearances, setting a Cubs record. He added another RBI on Sunday. Suzuki leads the team in home runs, RBI and walks (nine).
Infielder Jonathan Villar is batting .474 in 19 at-bats after going 4-for-5 on Saturday. Happ is off to a strong start from both sides of the plate, with four hits from the right side already.
“Everyone’s in great condition,” Suzuki said through interpreter Toy Matsushita. “Everyone’s having good at-bats, and hope to continue this.”
The numbers will even out over the -season, but a shift in the lineup balance is clear. The Cubs definitely are not relying on the three-run homer.