10 brutal Cubs stats after 10 games of 2021 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
If a baseball team loses six times in a 10-game stretch in the middle of August, you’d barely get a shrug out of most fans—especially if that team is 20 games out of first place.
But to start off a season 4-6, like the Cubs have, with each loss coming against mediocre NL Central cohorts? It might be grounds for some deep statistical analysis — especially given the team’s offense.
But first, let’s add a statistical caveat: 2018 was the first year that MLB teams had more strikeouts than hits (189 to be exact) and that trend has snowballed ever since. More on this as it pertains to the Cubs offense a bit later.
We have a long season ahead of us. It’s not time to panic…yet. But we found 10 Cubs statistics that are, well, concerning through the first 10 games of the season:
The Slash Line: .164 .264 .321 .585. The Cubs’ team batting average, slugging, on-base and OPS percentages all rank last in MLB. The .164 team average is especially concerning. The next closest team --the Giants-- are way up the line at .192, 28 points better than their sub-Mendoza-line mates.
Extra-base hits: The Cubs have 22 of them as a team. Kris Bryant (seven) and Javy Baez (four) comprise half the team’s total. Speaking of hits…
Total hits: Cubs have tallied 49 of them so far through 10 games. The Dodgers have exactly double that number (98). But enough about all that talk regarding teams going in opposite directions since 2016, right? For more perspective…
This stat is mind-blowing:
What’s even crazier about that 1968 team is that they won six of those ten games, including a five-game winning streak.
29 runs scored. The Nationals and Mets have 22 and 16, respectively, but have only played a combined 13 games due to COVID postponements.
Hitters: 100 strikeouts; 85 combined hits and walks. Bryant and Baez have nine hits apiece. Happ leads the team in walks (seven). Baez is, by far, the team leader in strikeouts (17).
MLB Wins Above Average By Position: -1.5 total (ranked No. 26 in MLB); LF spot: -0.4 (No. 30 in MLB). Not much of a surprise here, but the latter puts a microscope on Joc Pederson’s early-season struggles (.129/.222/.226)
Starting rotation ERA: 5.48. Wide spectrum here, with Jake Arrieta leading the way at 2.25 and Zach Davies at the other end with 11.05. Adbert Alzolay and Trevor Williams have given up seven earned runs apiece. But what’s more concerning…
Total walks given up (44), walks-per-nine-innings (4.5): The first total is tied for third-worst in baseball; the latter ratio is ties for fourth-worst in the big leagues. Note that 11 of those 44 walks came on Opening Day.
Fielding percentage: .992 (third in MLB). OK…OK…it’s not a brutal statistic. Let’s end on a high(er) note. David Ross has lauded the team’s defensive approach all spring training and during the first two weeks of the regular season. The returns have been good thus far. Maybe the fact that we had to dig this far to find a good statistic is brutal in and of itself? Maybe it's something to build on.
After the Cubs’ series in Milwaukee they open a nine-game homestand. Brighter days ahead?
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