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The Cubs’ unusual 2021 hitting and pitching splits

This year’s Cubs have been up, and down, then up and down again.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

There remain 18 games in the Cubs’ 2021 season, so the story of this year is not completely written yet.

But I wanted to take a quick look at the season to date, split into three groups of games.

The first set of games is the 38-27 start that had the Cubs in first place after a sweep of the Cardinals at Wrigley Field June 13.

The second group encompasses both long losing streaks this team had, one with the players who were traded away at the deadline, the other with their replacements.

And the last group of games is the 18 they’ve played since they were swept by the Royals in August. Despite another sweep at the hands of the Giants this past weekend, the Cubs are 11-7 since August 22. That’s the fourth-best record in the NL in that span. Only the Brewers, Giants and Dodgers are better (all at 13-6), and all those teams are headed to the postseason.

Here are some numbers to peruse.

The 38-27 Cubs from Opening Day through June 13 (65 games)

Batting: .235/.312/.412. 300 runs (4.62 per game). 88 home runs (1.35 per game). 607 strikeouts (9.34 per game).
Pitching: 3.66 ERA, 1.293 WHIP. 257 runs allowed (3.95 per game). 74 home runs allowed (1.14 per game). 585 strikeouts (9.00 per game).

The 16-45 Cubs from June 14 through August 22 (61 games)

Batting: .222/.295/.372. 217 runs (3.56 per game). 67 home runs (1.10 per game). 627 strikeouts (10.27 per game).
Pitching: 5.67 ERA, 1.485 WHIP. 362 runs allowed (5.93 per game). 106 home runs allowed (1.74 per game). 502 strikeouts (8.23 per game).

The 11-7 Cubs from August 23 through September 12 (18 games)

Batting: .255/.311/.470. 99 runs (5.50 per game). 33 home runs (1.83 per game). 184 strikeouts (10.22 per game).
Pitching: 5.61 ERA, 1.389 WHIP. 109 runs allowed (6.06 per game). 26 home runs allowed (1.44 per game). 138 strikeouts (7.67 per game).

Overall, the Cubs have been outscored 728-616 this year, a -112 run differential. Extrapolating those numbers for 18 more games, the Cubs would score 693 runs and allow 819, a run differential of -126. That would be the worst Cubs run differential since 2012, when that 101-loss team had a run differential of -146.

The first two groups of games are nearly equal in number, and they show why the second group wound up in a 14-45 skid. The team stopped hitting and the pitching was awful. In the most recent 18-game group, the pitching continued to be pretty bad (allowing 13+ runs four times), but the bats got going enough to produce a winning record.

Overall this year, to date, the Cubs have a .232/.305/.402 batting line with 188 home runs and 616 runs. Those numbers rank 15th, 14th, ninth, fifth and 10th, respectively, in the National League. Pitching-wise, the team ERA for the full season is 4.74. That ranks 11th. The team WHIP of 1.385 ranks 13th and they have allowed 206 home runs, which ranks 14th. The 728 runs allowed also ranks 13th.

None of those numbers are really any good, with the possible exception of the 188 home runs. I don’t draw any conclusions from these numbers; I simply present them for your perusal and discussion.