Jose Quintana and his curveball: After not allowing a hit through four innings against the Marlins last week, Quintana unraveled in the fifth, giving up six runs over six innings of work. Sunday was a different story for Quintana, as he went six innings, gave up three hits, no runs, and had six strikeouts, five of which were via the curveball.
Yu Darvish: Darvish was another bounceback candidate after his lackluster first performance in a Cubs uniform, and he did not disappoint. Darvish showed us why he was the top starting pitcher available in the free agent market this past winter, tallying six innings, two hits, one run, and nine strikeouts. Darvish looks to earn his first win as a Cub against the Braves on Friday.
Jon Lester: Jon returned to his vintage self on Thursday, pitching six innings and giving up three hits, one walk, and striking out six as he gave his best Bob Ross impression by painting the corners.
Willson Contreras: After starting out the season slow, Contreras had a fantastic week, going 6-18 with two doubles, a triple, two walks, and taking two hit-by-pitches for the team. This all culminated to a .333/.455/.556 slash line, with a 179 wRC+.
Kris Bryant: It was somewhat of a rollercoaster week for Bryant, going hitless in three of the five games. In his other two, Bryant went 5-for-8, with a triple, home run, and two runs batted in. Overall, Bryant went 5-for-19 with four walks on the week, culminating in a .263/.391/.526 slash line.
Ben Zobrist: Zobrist continued his hot start by going 5-for-14 with a home run and two walks. This amounted to a .357/.438/.571 slash line.
Tyler Chatwood: If Chatwood continues to average nine walks per game he won’t find himself on this list very often. (Spoiler alert: he won’t) While Chatwood has a knack for walking his fair share of hitters, he has a tendency for getting out of trouble more often than not, and his start against the Reds was a perfect example of that. Chatwood went six innings, walking six, striking out four, but only gave up one run.
Justin Wilson: This is the Justin Wilson the Cubs thought they were getting when they traded for him in late July. Though he walked three hitters in Friday’s appearance, he was able to escape unscathed. He also turned in two perfect innings on the week, striking out two in each of the appearances.
Kyle Schwarber: After ending the first week with a 1.242 OPS, Schwarber went 0-for-14 with four walks, eight strikeouts, and was caught stealing once. Woof.
Ian Happ: Happ’s strikeout woes continue, striking out nine more times this week in 15 at-bats. Happ did have four hits on the week, but they were all singles. In his 30 at-bats to begin the season, Happ has struck out in 17 of them, good for a nearly 57% clip. No bueno.
Yadier Molina: Attempting to start a fight with a manager who is arguing with an umpire? That’s the Cardinal way!
Buy: The Cubs have the deepest rotation in baseball. Lester, Darvish, and Quintana showed you exactly what they are capable of in any game they pitch. Add in Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood rounding out the five spot, the Cubs have the deepest 1-through-5 of any team in 2018.
Sell: The Cubs have the best rotation in baseball. This award could be given to a handful of teams besides the Cubs, including the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Houston Astros. While I believe the Cubs have the deepest rotation in baseball, I’m not ready to call them the best rotation in baseball. Yet.
Buy: The Cubs bullpen will be much improved this season. With a newly formidable Justin Wilson, and the additions of Brendan Morrow and Steve Cishek, this bullpen has the chance to be the best this team has seen in a while. They lead all of baseball with a 0.94 ERA, and are one of only two teams that have yet to give up a homer.
Sell: The Cubs won’t make any bullpen additions at the deadline. Every year we see a number of top bullpen arms traded to contenders, and this year won’t be any different. With relievers like Brad Hand, Zach Britton, and others available this summer, it wouldn’t shock me if the Cubs acquired one to make a push for the playoffs, and hopefully beyond.
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