The Cubs woke up Friday morning with a 17-17 record and roughly 20 percent of their schedule in the rearview mirror.
Typically, Memorial Day Weekend is the first true checkpoint to assess MLB teams as contenders or pretenders, but as the Cubs head to St. Louis to take on their rival Cardinals, there's a sense of urgency surrounding Joe Maddon's squad (and in an anxious fanbase).
After a rough start to 2017, the Cardinals currently lead the National League Central with a 19-14 record, 2.5 games ahead of the fourth-place Cubs.
The Cubs clearly have not hit their stride yet and the roster is still rife with so much talent and proven track records that there really is no reason to panic in mid-May so long as everybody remains relatively healthy.
But the numbers are a bit astounding when you compare the 2017 Cubs to the 2016 iteration that got out to a blazing-hot start en route to the organization's first World Series championship in 108 years:
That's the winning percentage the Cubs woke up with Friday morning. In 2016, the winning percentage stood at .765 thanks to a 26-8 start through the first 34 games.
The number of Cubs regulars — Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Willson Contrears — hitting below .250. Javy Baez and Jason Heyward (both with .253 averages) aren't much beyond that mark.
Of course, batting average isn't everything, but the Cubs also have five regulars posting an OPS south of .700: Zobrist (.698), Heyward (.697), Schwarber (.696), Russell (.652) and Contreras (.630).
As of Friday, the Cubs' most valuable offensive players currently rank: Kris Bryant, Miguel Montero, Albert Almora Jr. and Jon Jay. Not what anybody was expecting coming out of spring training.
The number of Cubs errors in 2017, ranking 25th in baseball. The 2016 Cubs were quite possibly the best defensive team in the history of the game, so some regression was to be expected. But defense is also the only facet of the game that can be slump-proof and yet the Cubs have gotten some shaky fielding thus far in 2017.
That's the total mark of quality starts from the Cubs rotation in 2017, which sits 23rd in MLB. Through 34 games in 2016, the rotation posted 25 quality starts.
The ERA for Cubs starting pitchers in 2017. That number is obviously weighed down by Brett Anderson's 8.18 mark across his 22 innings before he hit the disabled list, but Anderson isn't the only culprit. Jake Arrieta's ERA sits at 5.35 after his rough outing in Coors Field this week while John Lackey (4.29) has also performed under expectations to date (despite making history earlier in the week).
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The Cubs' defensive issues have certainly impacted the whole "run prevention" area, but Cubs starters have also allowed 41 first-inning runs this season, putting the offense in immediate "catch-up" mode.
In 2016, the Cubs rotation carried a 2.26 ERA through 34 games.
That's the Cubs' run differential this season as they've scored 166 runs compared to 158 allowed.
At this point last season, people were pegging the Cubs to break the all-time run differential record as they stood +104 with 205 runs scored and 101 allowed.
The Cubs aren't feeling the home cooking this year with just a 7-9 record at Wrigley Field (they went 13-5 through this point in 2016). Of course, the weather has been a factor, as 11 of the 16 games played at "The Friendly Confines" have come with the temperature below 50 degrees at first pitch.
The 2017 Cubs are 10-8 on the road, compared to their 13-3 mark away from home a year ago.
That's the Cubs' record against NL Central opponents, compared to the 14-2 mark they posted up against the division through the 2016's first six weeks.
Of course, the NL Central has gotten out to a hot start as the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers — both rebuilding — sit above .500 entering the weekend.