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A Review Of A Cubs Playoff Season: May 2015

The Cubs had their first big winning streak in May, but it wound up their only non-winning month.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs began May losing seven of their first 10 and dropped to .500 at 15-15 after a tough, extra-inning loss to the Brewers May 10 at Miller Park that dropped them to 6½ games out of first place.

They came home May 11 to face the Mets with the bleachers reopening, or, at least, about two-thirds of the bleachers. Left and center field opened, with right field unfinished until June. That's when the winning started; a four-game sweep of the Mets and wins in the first two of a three-game set against the Pirates at Wrigley Field gave the first inkling that this might be a contending season after all.

Team record

The Cubs went 14-14 in May, finishing the month at 26-22, still six games behind the first-place Cardinals.

Best win

Back when the Washington Nationals were actually a contender and not a punch line, Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the first off Jordan Zimmermann May 26 at Wrigley Field with a home run. The Cubs gave up solo homers to Bryce Harper and Denard Span and trailed 2-1 when Kris Bryant faced Aaron Barrett in the bottom of the eighth:

That was the first home run to hit the left-field video board, and it tied the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Chris Coghlan singled and Addison Russell doubled him in to win it.

Also considered: May 21 vs. the Padres, Kyle Hendricks' first career complete-game shutout, a five-hitter with seven strikeouts.

Toughest loss

May 4 vs. the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Cubs scored five runs off Carlos Martinez in the first inning, but Travis Wood coughed four of them right back in the bottom of the frame, an outing that helped lead Joe Maddon to remove him from the rotation. The bullpen, particularly Pedro Strop, was awful. The Cubs managed to get back to within one run at 10-9 when Russell homered with two out in the ninth, but that's how it ended.

Best overall monthly performance

A tie here. Anthony Rizzo hit .314/.411/.638 (33-for-105) with nine doubles, two triples and seven home runs. But Jon Lester made up for his bad April by going 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts.

Roughest month

Wood posted a 10.13 ERA in three starts (13⅓ innings) before he was moved to the bullpen, where he has had a very good year. Jake Arrieta had his "worst" month of 2015, with a 3.99 ERA in six starts.

Weirdest happening

The Pirates' Gregory Polanco tripping over his own feet trying to catch Matt Szczur's short fly ball in right field in the 11th inning May 15, allowing Starlin Castro to score the winning run.

Sunday: A look at the Cubs in June 2015