Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Cubs slide into top 10

4-27addisonrussellpr.png

MLB Power Rankings: Cubs slide into top 10

As April draws to a close, we've seen plenty of surprises so far. Who would've thought the Mets would be a top-five team two weeks in a row? How about preseason World Series favorites Seattle and Washington sinking out of the top half? And, for the first time since we've been doing these rankings, the Cubs are a top-10 team.

With that comes another week of MLB Power Rankings from CSNChicago.com's Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz. Stay tuned for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 3

Hard to put them No. 1 because of devastating Wainwright injury, but still look like the class of NL.

2   5

They're a whopping 10-0 at home. Whoaaaa.

3   1

They're the class of the AL for now, but as the season wears on will they need Justin Verlander back?

4   2

Alex Guerrero won't keep hitting at this pace (1.773 OPS) obviously, but he could still be a big piece this season.

5 6

They all seemed cognizant last week of the fact they can't continue to get involved in extracurricular stuff and maintain being a contender.

6   7

Who would have figured the Padres would ever lead the NL in runs scored, even with their crazy offseason?

7 4

Enter the week getting no help from their starters, who have combined for a MLB-worst 5.75 ERA through 19 games.

8 11

Riding high after sweep of Reds; stand at 6-3 overall on the road.

9 13

Looks like it's going to be a three-team race in the NL Central this year, but not sure if Pirates have staying power.

10   19

Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have been nice, but will need more out of lefties Nathan Eovaldi and C.C. Sabathia.

11   18

They may not have staying power through August and September, but this looks like a solid enough team to hang around for most of the summer.

12   20

Chris Archer hasn't allowed a run over his last 26 2/3 innings. Other teams are in a zone of danger, you could say.

13 21

Once again, they're hanging in there through the season's first month. Let's just wait until June before considering them contenders.

14 14

I could watch them blast home runs all day. Their pitching, though, is another story.

15 12

Absolutely throttled Boston (18-7) to close out a series victory on Sunday.

16 15

They send Josh Hamilton to a division rival for cash considerations. It may not come back to bite them, but still -- they *had* to get rid of him that badly, huh?

17 9

Swept by those pesky Astros at home over the weekend.

18 8

They have just about everybody back, yet still ended the week on a 5-game losing streak? Ugh.

19 23

Winning back-to-back home series an encouraging development as Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera start to heat up.

20   16

9-9 with a +1 run differential at this point in the year should be considered a huge success. Seriously.

21 27

"Hey, Mr. Saltalamacchia, welcome back from paterntiy leave! Now pack your stuff and LEAVE." 

22 10 Even with Nelson Cruz's nine home runs and solid slash lines from Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, this offense isn't cutting it.
23   28

Guess they need Hunter Pence back even more than we thought?

24 24

If Joey Votto could transfer some of his on-base skills to Billy Hamilton, Reds offense would be unstoppable.

25 27

Have lost 4 of 5 since taking 3 of 4 from Giants last week.

26 25

Bringing Josh Hamilton back for a pittance is a risk well worth taking, especially with their rough situation in left field.

27 26

Phil Hughes (4.39 ERA, 4.55 FIP) and Brian Dozier (.203/.300/.319, 1 HR) among the more disappointing early-season players this year.

28 22

Cody Allen has a 15.0 K/9. That's good! He also has a 10.5 BB/9. That's bad. As is his 13.50 ERA.

29 29

Ryan Howard doing his best impression of 2006-09 Ryan Howard with 3-HR week.

30   30

Are the Brewers tanking for the No. 1 pick next year? Sure seems like it...

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

As if things weren’t already going well enough for the Cubs during this strange, short season of baseball in a pandemic, now the baseball gods are dropping gifts into their laps.

The Cardinals’ lengthy shutdown because of a coronavirus outbreak has the Cubs’ arch rivals restarting their season Saturday in Chicago with a patched-up roster and eight games over the next five days, including five games against the Cubs.

And although that means the relative hardship of two doubleheaders for the Cubs in three days, all five of those games Monday through Wednesday are against a decimated Cards roster that won’t have the front end of its rotation for any of the games.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

They catch the Cardinals at their weakest point of the early season a week after catching an otherwise formidable Cleveland team at a moment of clubhouse crisis involving protocol perps Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger.

That one resulted in a two-game sweep by a combined score of 14-3.

This one already has resulted in all 10 games against the Cardinals now being scheduled for Wrigley Field.

Combine that with the three road games against the White Sox next month, and it means that the team with baseball’s best record on the field, the perfect record in player COVID-19 testing and no significant injuries to key players so far will play 60 percent of its games within its Chicago bubble if the Cubs and MLB pull off the full 60-game season.

If the Cubs were positioned any better to make the playoffs, they’d already be there.

“You can look at it that way if you want,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’re just doing our thing.”

No other way to look at it from here. Have you seen the rest of the schedule?

The Cubs have 43 games left, including 29 within a National League Central Division that doesn’t include another .500 team three weeks into a nine-week season. Nine more games are against the Tigers and White Sox.

The best team on the schedule is the Twins, and all three of those games are at home and not until the second-to-last weekend of the season.

With all due respect to Ross and his fear of “bad juju,” the Cubs can’t lose.

“It’s still early on,” the manager said.

Nothing’s early in a 60-game season. And the Cubs already have matched the hot starts of their 2016 and 1908 World Series champions.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go in the season,” Ross said.

The Cubs did have to scratch Tyler Chatwood from his scheduled start Friday night because of back tightness. And Kris Bryant has missed the last two games because of a sore finger after rolling his wrist trying to make a diving catch in left field in Cleveland Wednesday.

But Alec Mills looked good in short-notice replacement duty Friday until a rough four-pitch (and three-run) sequence in the sixth. And Chatwood might be ready for one of Monday’s games — or possibly one of Wednesday’s.

“Things falling in our favor?” Ross said. “We’re playing good baseball, and that should be the focus for me and not the other stuff.”

Granted, they still have to play the games. Granted, Bryant wasn’t available off the bench with the bases loaded in the eighth Friday, and Josh Phegley struck out instead.

And, yes, they actually lost a game to the Brewers Friday night.

But if you still don’t believe the baseball gods are stirring the Cubs’ pot so far this season, you weren’t paying attention in the ninth inning when Craig Kimbrel struck out Avisail Garcia swinging at a 98-mph fastball to start the scoreless inning and Manny Piña swinging at a 96-mph fastball to end it.

What closer problem? Bring on the Cardinals, right?

These guys might not lose another game.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE CUBS TALK PODCAST FOR FREE.

Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

The Cubs plan to start swingman Colin Rea on Saturday against the Brewers, manager David Ross said after Friday's game.

Alec Mills was originally slated to pitch Saturday but was bumped up to Friday because Tyler Chatwood was scratched with mid-back tightness. The Cubs will evaluate Chatwood to see if he's an option to pitch on Monday, when they're scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

Rea, 30, has made two appearances this season, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out three in three innings. He was named the 2019 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, sporting a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

Rea's last big league start was July 30, 2016 with the Marlins. He allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four with no walks.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE CUBS TALK PODCAST FOR FREE.