Over the last few seasons, one of the biggest knocks against the Cubs has been the offense’s reliance on home runs, and through 16 games this season, things have been very familiar.
The Cubs have been searching for anything to get the offense going during its recent slump and on a cold April night at Wrigley Field, it looked like runs would come at a premium.
But during the Cubs’ 3-1 victory on Tuesday, the offense found a way to put runs on the board without relying solely on the long ball and continued that recipe for success in Wednesday’s 16-4 victory against the Mets.
“I think the team as a whole, it’s just a matter of time for the offense to get going and on a night like this, it showed,” starter Zach Davies said.
The Cubs faced a 2-0 deficit as Davies allowed two runs over four innings. And after not collecting a hit through three innings, the offense came alive in the fourth.
Willson Contreras, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo kicked off the inning with three consecutive singles to get the Cubs on the board before an error by Mets third baseman J.D. Davis loaded the bases. Matt Duffy’s bases-loaded walk tied the game at 2.
The Cubs went on to score five more runs in the fourth with RBI singles by David Bote, Eric Sogard and Ian Happ.
It was the first time the Cubs batted around in an inning this season. It also was the first time the Cubs scored seven runs in an inning since Sept. 27, 2019, against the Cardinals.“I was happy with the guys staying up the middle,” manager David Ross said. “I don’t know if we’ve had that many singles in quite some time. Just feels like the things we’ve seen over the last four or five days have been really good and paid off there.”
The Cubs were able to find some offense with their biggest inning of the season and took advantage of some poor defense. The Mets didn’t help themselves with four errors and several other mental lapses in the field.
The hit parade didn’t stop in the fourth as the Cubs scored three more runs in the fifth inning to extend the lead.
“Keeping it simple is the key for a big team win,” shortstop Javy Baez said. “Sometimes, we need to get jammed instead of hitting a home run. That’s a big thing that all the leaders here are seeing and we are working on. Seeing the situation of the game and playing as a team.”
Baez has had maybe the toughest time at the plate this season of any Cubs player and has had some rough at-bats over the last two weeks. But Ross has supported his shortstop during his slump.
“I really want to do good for the team, but I also want to win,” Baez said. “That’s what really matters right now. I’m a big team player. I’m not taking my numbers out there. I don’t take my frustration or my at-bats to my defense. I just care about winning.”
Baez highlighted the big night at the plate, launching his sixth career grand slam to blow the game open in the sixth and give the Cubs a 14-4 lead.
Wednesday’s victory gave the Cubs their first series win since the team’s opening series against the Pirates.
“This is definitely the kind of game that all of us live for,” Duffy said. “It just kind of seems easy and everybody’s clicking. Everybody’s involved. This is the kind of vibe that the game creates. You can ride that out for a little bit sometimes.”