Full speed ahead for the 2-0 Cubs, who are primed for more
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Fifteen runs scored and one run given up in two victories – yeah, I think that’s what Joe Maddon was talking about when he preached the importance of a fast start for his Cubs.
The manager wants more than a 2-0 record, of course, and his request seems reasonable. Starting Thursday, the Cubs have a four-game road series against the improved Diamondbacks, who added Zack Greinke in the offseason. That’s followed by two three-game series at Wrigley Field against the bad Reds and the hard-hitting Rockies, respectively.
Mt. Everest, it’s not.
This is a chance for the Cubs to send a message to the rest of the National League that the burden of favorite feels more like a feather than an anvil. More importantly, it will reinforce to the Cubs that they deserve all the accolades that have been coming their way since they made it to the N.L. Championship Series last season.
With Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs’ lineup is implied menace before anybody steps to the plate. So when Matt Szczur, who had just 80 major-league games under his belt heading into the season, drives in four runs in two games, it’s borderline unfair to the competition. And with Dexter Fowler going 5-for-8 from the leadoff spot, well, forget about it.
It’s only two games, but it’s worth noting that the last time the Cubs started 2-0 was 1995. That’s a strange, almost-unbelievable statistic from a franchise with a lot of strange and unbelievable history behind it.
The ’95 team won its first four games but ended up 73-71, good for third in the division. That might serve as a cautionary tale about the unreliability of fast starts, but it has nothing to do with this team, which is loaded.
The Cubs could be 10-2 or 9-3 after the first 12 games. That would be a nice way to go into their next series, which is on the road. You might have heard of the opponent – the Cardinals.