There’s something you don’t see everyday, the Chicago Cubs in first place in the National League Central. Yeah, it’s only April. Yes, they’re still tied with Cincinnati Reds, but there’s an upswing; Kris Bryant still isn’t here, Javier Baez could be back and Jon Lester is just getting warmed up. Cubs beat the Reds 7-6 in ten innings.
Another reason for this being great news is the Cubs are doing it without the usual suspects. Arismendy Alcantaragetting a walk off RBI in the tenth last night proved for the second straight day that the Cubs can dig down deep and find a way to win.
“When you start doing things like this, you believe you can win late, and that’s really important,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s also really important to feel you can come from behind, which we’ve done two days in a row late. Those are two of the best things you can possibly get across to a young team. Yes, I’ve enjoyed it.”
Most importantly, the Cubs are feeling a different vibe this season. You can start to see it last season, but with the addition of Maddon, the Cubs have become a believing bunch.
My favourite moment during last night’s festivities came when Jorge Soler sent a rocket to third base after Jon Lester threw over Anthony Rizzo’s head. With a cannon like Solar’s, no runner is safe.
“This guy is really good out there and he’s going to keep getting better,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Obviously, he comes to play every day. He really sets high standards for himself. He’s quiet, but his standards are high.”
Yup, Jorge Soler is going to be an anchor out there for the Cubs and an offensive juggernaught after nothing two home runs yesterday
“His power is just ridiculous,” Jon Lester said of the young outfielder.
Speaking of Lester, he’s still struggling to find his rhythm but as the game went on, he got better. Cubs fans were worried after he gave up three runs in the first.
“Obviously, I haven’t hit my stride yet,” Lester said, “but I don’t want to use anything as a crutch by any means. Things have to be better. When you have four [relievers] going out there doing their jobs, and you’re the loose end of the chain, it’s never good.”
Did you hear the boos when he didn’t throw to first? He’ll be changing that in a hurry.