After a Spring Training start, former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija made a comment that did not exactly sit well with some of his former teammates. He said, “I think we’re seeing a little feast or famine out of the Cubbies this year.” This was also after allowing four home runs in a spring game against his former squad, so emotions may have been running high. However, after the first week of the season the one-liner just may have been on point in summing up the Cubs handful of games which were truly feast or famine.
On Opening Night, the Cubs were shut out by Adam Wainwright and the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals. The offense was only able to produce five hits while stranding a lot of runners on base. Jon Lester and the defense also appeared to just be slightly off of their game. After a rain out, the Cubs were able to earn a win but only thanks in large part to the strong outing by Jake Arrieta. When the Cubs were only able to turn out two hits of their own, Arrieta shut down the Red Birds all game long. While Arrieta feasted on the Cardinals once again, the offense was famine in the first two games out of the box.
In their first road series of the year, the Cubs were able to take two out of three games against the Colorado Rockies, but it was not without some tense moments in the finale. On Friday, the Cubs offense once again starved only scoring one run on five hits. It was not until Saturday and game four of the season when the offense finally stepped up to the table and hit their first home runs of the season. It was a trio of long balls by Chris Coghlan, Mike Olt, and Starlin Castro that led to their best output of the young campaign with nine runs on 12 hits.
To end the week, the Cubs offense showed both the famine and feast of what could be a microcosm of the 2015 season in Chicago. Early on, the offense again failed to produce with runners in scoring position. Still in the ninth inning, the Cubs had a chance to steal a win off of the table thanks to the bullpen that has been on point to start the year. Surprisingly, it was Dexter Fowler who stepped up with the big home run against his former team to take the win and dash off to the airport on getaway day.
While it is still early on, the Cubs have truly fit the all or nothing concept of Samardzija’s comments. Over the weekend, there were a few situations where having Kris Bryant‘s bat in a particular spot may have helped spark the offense no question. Until Bryant’s impending arrival, manager Joe Maddon will have to continue answering questions on if his team will step up and dig in on any given day. But as Maddon says, “Bring it on. That is what makes it fun.” Here is hoping that once the Chicago weather warms up, the bats will soon follow. After all, feasting is much better when it is warm fresh out of the oven.