PITTSBURGH – Go ahead, take your best shot. Try to nit-pick a weakness worth addressing on the fastest-starting Cubs team in 109 years.
That’s what team president Theo Epstein and his front office are doing these days, even with the Cubs setting the pace in the majors with a 20-6 record and major-league leading totals in runs scored, fewest allowed, team ERA, walks drawn, disco-ball parties, zany dress-up days and F-bombs in Pittsburgh.
“I think we’ve played really well, and we’re happy with the record that we have,” Epstein said. “But I don’t think we’ve completely locked in yet, or clicked in all facets of the game.”
Jorge Soler’s slumping bat and clumsy fielding? Trevor Cahill’s recent struggles out of the bullpen? Pedro Strop’s strange fascination with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
There isn’t much – especially after the Cubs finished off a statement-worthy sweep of the playoff-minded Pirates with Wednesday’s 6-2 victory on the strength of home runs by Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo.
“Our pitching staff’s really been carrying us, been the most consistent part of our team,” said Epstein, who retooled a 97-win team with a $290 million winter – and who keeps looking for more. “As it warms up here, I think the bats will get going, and they’ll probably carry us for a while.
“But as far as needs that we might have or ways that we can get better, we’re always assessing that, and there’s lots of different ways that we could potentially improve the club before the end of the season.”