With thirteen games left in the regular season the Chicago Cubs are currently six games behind the NL Central leading St Louis Cardinals and just two games behind the wild card leading Pittsburgh Pirates. Coincidentally, the Cubs last two series has come against these two teams.
The Cubs won three out of four in Pittsburgh last week and then won two out of three against the Cardinals this past weekend. You want to be playing well this time of year going into the playoffs and that is exactly what the Cubs are doing. So far in September they have a 13-6 record, which is the best in all of baseball. Here are the reasons for the Cubs success:
The Cubs have the third best earned run average in the league in September at 3.11, only trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners. Jake Arrieta has been leading the way and has extended his quality start streak to a remarkable 16 games. In his last three starts (all in September) he has a 2-0 record with a .75 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. Jon Lester is right behind Arrieta with a 2-1 record and an ERA of 2.67 and 26 strikeouts in four September starts. Joe Maddon will rely on these two arms to carry the Cubs into the postseason.
Starlin Castro has been on a complete tear since being benched earlier in the year. In the last 30 days Castro has an incredible .397 batting average with an on-base percentage of .429 in 73 at bats. He has done a great job adjusting and taking what opposing pitchers are giving him. He has even shown some power, hitting five home runs in the past 30 days as well. Kris Bryant has also been extremely dangerous recently. Bryant has a batting average of .330 with eight home runs and 24 runs batted in. Bryant has matched Billy Williams’ Cubs rookie record of 25 home runs.