How the Cubs Took Over Again

May 06, 2019 - 8:49 am

(670 The Score) -- It was as recently as the conclusion of play on April 13 that the Chicago Cubs sat alone in last place in the National League Central at 5-9, which was largely the product of an ugly 1-6 start.

What a difference a few weeks can make.

At Wrigley Field on Sunday evening, the Cubs' dramatic, quick turnaround continued as they cruised to a 13-5 win against the St. Louis Cardinals to ascend to first place in the division. It was the Cubs' seventh straight win and 18th victory in their past 24 games after the 1-6 start.

So how have the Cubs performed their magic act?

"We are playing with a lot of energy," manager Joe Maddon said.

More than anything else, the Cubs' resurgence has been driven by their starting rotation. Entering Sunday, the Cubs had a 2.37 ERA in their previous 21 games dating to April 8, the best mark in the big leagues during that stretch.

Jose Quintana kept the trend going by throwing six innings of two-run ball Sunday. He's 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA.

"This feels really great," Quintana said. "It was really good to sweep this series. We are in first place, and we need to keep going like we have the last two weeks."

At 19-12, the Cubs are off to their third-best start through 31 games in the past 20 years. Their offense has been strong, too. It was the seventh time the Cubs posted 10 or more runs in a game. That's tied with Seattle and Texas for the most such occasions in baseball.

"We had a weird start to the year," said third baseman Kris Bryant, who hit a grand slam. "We all knew we had talent in here. Our pitching staff is very talented. We knew they would turn it around, and they did. They have been doing that for 20-plus games."

By Bruce Levine