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Cubs Update – Week of September 19th

Without a doubt, one of the brightest parts of the Cubs' season has been Jake Arrieta, who continues to improve, impress and simply dominate whichever lineup has the misfortune of ending up in his path. Most recently, it was the Cincinnati Reds, as Arrieta dazzled the crowd at Wrigley to the tune of a one-hit shutout, nearly pitching a no-hitter in the process as the Cubs walked away with a 7-0 win. For Arrieta, the win moved his record to 9-5 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.65, showing that he's capable of being an absolute rock in the starting rotation.

Arrieta also isn't just a pitcher who pitches to contact and crosses his fingers, as he's started to show the type of overall dominance that can really carry a team if he can get hot. In his one-hitter, Arrieta struck out 13 batters and walked just one, marking the third time this season that he's struck out at least 10 batters on his way to picking up a win. With Arrieta's control continuing to improve and Arrieta proving that he can go deep into ballgames on a regular basis, the Cubs are extremely confident moving forward as they continue to develop one of the most talented young rosters in the league.

The continued pitching excellence of Arrieta has also shown how far he's come since coming over from Baltimore. Though Arrieta struggled in Baltimore with the Orioles, he's been a new pitcher entirely in Chicago, with his 2014 season being one of the most unexpected highlights of the season for the Cubs as they look to take the next step forward with the franchise. Thanks to some young guns who have the Cubs looking very dangerous in the batter's box and guys like Arrieta stepping up their game in a big way, the Cubs continue to show that they have a team with an extremely bright future ahead of it.

Cubs Update – Week of September 12th

One of the things that hasn't been lost in the shuffle of the Chicago Cubs' latest season has been the big step forward for Anthony Rizzo, who looks to be getting closer to returning to the lineup as the star first baseman continues his career season. Before missing games over the last couple of weeks, Rizzo had been among the very top run-producers in the league, topping his strong 2013 season across the board offensively and showing that he's the kind of player a franchise can build around. Add him into the equation with an exciting young roster of players with superstar potential and suddenly the lineup looks like it has the potential to be one of the most explosive in the National League.

After hitting 23 homers a season ago, Rizzo was up to 30 dingers despite playing in significantly less games than last year, showing that the power is coming around in a very big way. More importantly, Rizzo has seen his on-base percentage and slugging percentage spike as well, helping to make him one of the most overall productive hitters in the entire league and point to the type of maturity at the plate that is elevating his game to the next level. With Rizzo looking to get back into the lineup and continue his career year, the Cubs will be hoping to pull together and make a big splash from now until the end of the season.

Pairing him with Jorge Soler, as well as Starlin Castro, is one of the things that Cubs fans will be looking to watch out for as Rizzo gets back into the fold. The Cubs have some big-time challenges within the division on the horizon, including an amazing three-game set at Wrigley against the Cardinals from September 22nd through the 24th, providing some major opportunities from now until the end of the season to show that they have as much talent in the N.L. Central as anyone.

Cubs Update – Week of September 5th

You might say that the Cubs' budding star Jorge Soler was ready to play when he came up to the big club. Though everyone in the organization knew that they had something special on their hands with Soler, a 22-year-old from Cuba, but he came right out of the gate to make an enormous splash in his first three big league series. Soler not only hit a homer in his very first big league at-bat but he's simply kept it rolling since then, smacking three homers and driving in 10 runs in his first nine games of his career in a Cubs' uniform, batting nearly.500 in that span and providing a major spark in the heart of the order.

With Soler leading the way, the rest of the Cubs have also pulled together and have played some inspired baseball. After splitting a tough series in St. Louis against the Cardinals, the Cubs came home to Wrigley and promptly swept the Brewers just as Milwaukee was attempting to gather some momentum in the playoff chase. In fact, beating teams right in the heart of the playoff race has become fairly commonplace for the Cubs since the All-Star break, flashing some enormous potential as they continue their quest to end the season on a high note.

In that series against the Brewers, the Cubs also put together some impressive pitching performances as well, letting up just five runs throughout the series. One of the best came from Jake Arrieta, who bounced back from a rough start against the Reds and shut down the Brewers, letting up just one earned run over six innings to lead to his eighth win of the season. With the Cubs getting some timely contributions coming down the home stretch of the season, and with the national buzz around Jorge Soler starting to build, this is a team that clearly has plenty of fight left.

Cubs Update – Week of August 29th

With the Cubs looking to flash their young talent coming down the home stretch of the season, they've done exactly that since the All-Star break thanks to dynamic debuts from both Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. While Baez hit a clutch, 12th inning homer against the Rockies on August 5th, it was Soler who ended up smacking a homer in his very first MLB at-bat on August 28th against the Reds. Though the game ultimately went to the Reds, the Cubs got a nice little spark from yet another youngster, pointing to a very bright future for this ball club as the youngsters continue to show that they're ready for the limelight.

Soler's first at-bat homer also makes it a good time to look back at the performance of Baez since he hit that first homer near the beginning of August. Though Baez has struggled to find consistency at the plate, he's also flashed some enormous power as well, bashing seven homers in the month and being one of the most productive Cubs' hitters with 13 RBIs and counting. Baez still has a lot to improve on to live up to his potential, but the talent level is clearly there and Cubs' fans are looking forward to watching the talented 21-year-old develop.

The same thing goes for right-fielder Jorge Soler, the Cuban phenomena who has all the potential you could ever want. Soler, who was intended to be a call-up from the beginning, had to deal with some hamstring problems earlier in the season, though he battled through injury to drive in 57 RBIs in 62 games for the Iowa Cubs before coming up. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game, however, is his plate discipline, as he got on base at a.432 click for Iowa and looks like the kind of guy who could be a major factor in a lineup. Put it all together and the Cubs have some explosive young talent that will be fun to watch from now through the end of the season.

Cubs Update – Week of August 22nd

With the Cubs looking to prove themselves coming down the home stretch of the season, there is plenty of baseball left to be played and you can count on Wrigley to continue to be packed from here on out. One of the brightest parts, of course, has been the excellent starting pitching from Tsuyoshi Wada, who has turned the corner this season and has been giving the Cubbies a chance to win every time he takes to the bump. Wada has now won his last three decisions and has consistently provided quality starts, providing the exact spark that the Cubs have needed in their rotation.

For Wada, a 33-year-old rookie from Izumo, Japan, the season has been an excellent step in right direction. After starting somewhat slow once he was added to the rotation in early July, Wada has come on very strong, taking wins against the Rockies and then silencing both the Giants and the Brewers – two teams that very well could be headed to the playoffs. With Wada showing that he belongs in the rotation and showing some major consistency, he looks like a pitcher to keep your eye on coming down the home stretch of the season.

Also continuing to produce in a very big way has been young phenomena Anthony Rizzo, who still ranks among the most productive first basemen in the entire league and has upped his homer total to the edge of 30. With Rizzo having a career year in the heart of the order, the Cubs seem to have a very bright future and will be looking to take a major step forward from now until the end of the regular season. The beauty of baseball is that there are lots of games to be played, with each possessing an opportunity as the Cubs look to turn a few heads with their high level of talent from here on out.

Cubs Update – Week of August 15th

The Cubbies have been a different team since flipping the calendar to August, as they've beaten some of the top teams in the league and have been turning some heads around the National League in the process. The series wins since August at this point is starting to look very impressive, as they won a series in L.A. against the N.L. West-leading Dodgers; won two of three against the Rockies in Colorado; and split a series with the playoff-hopeful Milwaukee Brewers as well. Put it all together and this is clearly a team that isn't going to back down from a challenge, giving fans plenty of reasons for optimism as they hope to flash their talent from now until the end of the season.

One of the most impressive wins recently, of course, came during a brilliant pitching performance from Kyle Hendricks, who continues to dazzle lineups around the league. The 24-year-old has turned in a string of very strong outings since joining the rotation, including wins against the Padres, the Dodgers and the Rockies, showing the rest of the division that this talented young pitcher can do some serious damage in the rotation. In fact, Hendricks' only loss on the season was a heart-breaker against St. Louis, in which he still pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just one run.

All in all, Hendricks has given the Cubs a major boost as they look to keep the wins coming down the home stretch of the season. Though they still have a lot of work to do if they want to get into the playoff hunt, the Cubs are all about looking forward with the franchise, and the future definitely looks bright with their impressive collection of talent that clearly looks to be on the rise. After heading to New York for a four-game series with the Mets, the Cubs will then come home to take on the Giants in a huge series before taking on the A.L. East-leading Orioles in another exciting series that will have some of the brightest young stars in the league on both sides.

Cubs Update – Week of August 8th

You might want to remember the name Javier Baez. Just brought up from the minors, the power-hitting second baseman didn't exactly wait very long to point out that he can make a serious impact in the lineup, as Baez jumped all over Rockies' pitching in Denver to help guide the Cubs to a series win. After homering in his first ever big league game, Baez returned in dramatic fashion in the final game of the series, belting two homers, driving in four runs and pushing the Cubs to a 6-2 win over Colorado. The 21-year-old was expected to be a major piece of the future, but the future might just be coming quicker than anyone thought if he can continue to turn heads coming down the home stretch of the season.

Though fans also should anticipate some growing pains considering he's so new to Major League pitching, Baez's presence also gives the entire Cubs lineup a lift exactly when they need it. The Cubs have had their fair share of downs to go with the ups this season, but they're also starting to play some inspired baseball and giving their fans some big-time thrills as the Cubs look to finish the season on a high note. In recent weeks, the Cubs took three out of four against the Rockies, took two out of three from the red-hot division-leading Dodgers on the road and then beat the Rockies once again in a three-game set.

With some big wins against N.L. West foes, the Cubs suddenly look like a team playing with a lot of confidence, which will make for a fun final couple of months of the season at Wrigley in the Windy City. The Cubs would obviously love to keep up that momentum as they did in for a nice home stand, as they'll take on the Rays before hosting the Milwaukee Brewers for a four-game set. Though the competition will be steep, the Cubs are also overflowing with explosive young talent and should be able to turn quite a few heads around the league from now until the end of the season.

Cubs Update – Week of August 1

With the Cubs looking to get on track in a recent series against the Colorado Rockies, the potential of the team was flashed in a very big way. Though the Rockies have a potent lineup, the Cubs' rotation mainly shut down the heavy-hitting Colorado offense, helping the Cubbies take home three out of four to give them one of their most impressive series of the year so far. The series also included a clutch 16th inning win on July 29th, which is one of the longest games of the season, and one of the most dramatic for the Cubs. It ended up with a clutch sacrifice fly from Starlin Castro, the smooth-hitting shortstop who continues to get better and better.

The series against the Rockies also saw yet another win for Jake Arrieta, who continues to put together a very nice season in the rotation for Chicago. After shutting down the Rockies over seven innings on July 21, Arrieta lowered his ERA all the way down to 2.11 and improved his record to 6-2. Arrieta has also won five out of his last six decisions, giving the Cubs a major boost as they look to take the next step in their development.

The Cubs also have a bunch of challenges and opportunities coming up on the schedule as well. After heading to L.A. to take on the red-hot Dodgers, the Cubs will then head to Denver to play the Rockies once again, and Colorado will be itching to get a little revenge after the Cubs took the previous series. The Cubs will then eventually head back to Wrigley after the road stint to take on the Rays and then the Brewers, with both Tampa and Milwaukee looking like teams that could be in the playoff hunt coming down the home stretch. With the Cubs looking to keep the wins coming, there will be lots of chances for Chicago to build some momentum against some of the top teams in the league over the next few weeks.

Cubs Update – Week of July 25

The secret about how good Anthony Rizzo might be completely out of the bag. Though Cubs' fans and attentive baseball fans have known that Rizzo is a superstar-in-the-making for a while now, Rizzo's recent home run tirade has grabbed the attention of the rest of the league. Rizzo homered five different times in the first four games after the All-Star break, including two different two-homer games as the smooth-hitting first baseman continues to put together an incredible season. With two more homers against the Padres on July 22, Rizzo is now up to 25 on the season and looks like he'll have an excellent opportunity to make a run at 40 for the year if he can keep swinging a hot stick.

During the recent home run barrage, Rizzo has also set his career high in home runs, pushing himself past the 23 that he tallied a season ago. What's most impressive is that he's also holding a very high batting average as well as a very high on-base percentage, indicative of a very good young hitter who seems to only be improving throughout the course of the season. Rizzo also has his WAR (wins above replacement) up well above 3, making him one of the most productive players in the entire league. With the 25 homers on the season and counting, Rizzo is also now the top home run guy in the National League.

And the Cubs will be hoping that Rizzo can keep it up as they hope to pick up a little momentum in the second half of the season. After a tough series against the Diamondbacks in Arizona to start the second half, the Cubs hosted the Padres at home and will continue the home stand by hosting the Cardinals and Rockies, giving them a couple tests against some potent lineup as they hope to swing their way back into the middle of the N.L. Central.

Cubs Update – Week of July 18

It's been somewhat of a challenging season so far for the Cubs, but they continue to show some major flashes of big-time potential, which is why the rest of the N.L. Central knows enough not to take them lightly from one game to the next. The Cubs also had a couple of talented players on display during the recent Midsummer Classic, as both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo got the nod as two of the best players in the league at their given positions. Castro has had an enormous amount of pressure on him since being proclaimed by many as the new face of the franchise, but the 24-year old shortstop has taken it all in stride. With three All-Star appearances in four years, Castro looks like he'll be a mainstay of the Cubs for a very long time.

As will Anthony Rizzo, the superstar-level first baseman who continues to turn heads around the league with his ability to do it all at the plate. Rizzo has taken a dramatic leap forward in terms of his power potential and is on pace to absolutely shatter his career high of 23 homers, as he already smashed 20 homers as of the All-Star break and could make a run at 100 RBIs if he puts together a couple of hot streaks in the second half of the season.

Of course, the Cubs will be able to use all of that power as they hope to get rolling coming out of the All-Star break, as they'll head to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks before coming home for a nice 10-game home stand. At home, the Cubs will take on the Padres and the Cardinals in three-game sets before hosting the Rockies for four games, which will bring together arguably the two best shortstops in the National League in Castro and Rockies' star Troy Tulowitzki.

Cubs Update – Week of July 11

And into the All-Star game goes Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs' rising star first baseman who finally gets a chance to showcase his talents to the rest of Major League Baseball during the Midsummer Classic. With 20 bombs on the season and counting, Rizzo is the number one home run threat in the National League as far as first basemen go, giving the Cubs a nice one-two punch with Starlin Castro and showing the rest of the league what he's capable of. For Rizzo, it's his first All-Star appearance in just his second complete season in the league and fans are anticipating watching him play in many more for years to come.

After showing some major signs last season, Rizzo has been pointing out all season long that he's developing at a very rapid rate. Last year, Rizzo hit 23 homers and drove in 89 runs, which are both numbers that he's looking to topple in the second half of the regular season. More importantly, Rizzo has shown significant improvements in both batting average and on-base percentage, which is a great sign that he's turning into the type of guy who can put up MVP numbers if he can continue to improve.

And it's with talented players like Rizzo that the Cubs are starting to show the type of dynamic team that fans will be watching for quite a while. Though the Cubs were sad to part ways with Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, they also picked up a collection of potential stars that will give their long-term outlook a major boost. Shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Billy McKinney and pitcher Dan Straily all have some big-time potential, providing a very bright future as the Cubs look to continue moving in the right direction. Of course, it also helps that they have guys like Rizzo in the heart of the lineup, giving them plenty of weapons to build around.

Cubs Update – Week of July 4

If any team in the league thought it was a good idea to underestimate the Chicago Cubs, well, those sentiments might have changed during a recent road series against the current world champs. Brewing up an old rivalry, the Cubs made their way into Boston and proceeded to topple the Red Sox on three consecutive nights, giving them a nice little winning streak on the road heading closer to the halfway point of the season. In the series, the Cubs started off with two well-pitched games, taking down the Sox 2-0 and then 2-0, though the Cubs also wrapped up the series with an absolute offensive explosion. In the final game of the series, the Cubs jumped all over Red Sox pitching, dominating the Red Sox 16-7 in the process and sending a clear message to the rest of the league.

In the game, seven different Cubs ended up with at least two hits, with the Cubs ending up with 19 hits in total. The star of the game, of course, was Justin Ruggiano belted a homer and drove in five RBIs on the day, leading the way in the heart of the order. At the bottom of the order, the Cubs also got a major spark from Darwin Barney, who led the team with four hits on the day. All in all, the Cubs would also belt four homers and mark one of their most impressive offensive displays of the season, ranking right up there with 17 homers on the road against the Cardinals and 12 runs on the road against the White Sox earlier in the year. With that type of offensive capabilities, the Cubs are looking to keep it rolling as they go up against the Nationals the Reds on the road before coming back home to take on the Braves heading into the All-Star break.

Cubs Update – Week of June 27

As we get closer to what is considered the midway point of the regular season, the All-Star break, it's the perfect time to look back to see how the Cubs have progressed so far. Though there have been a couple of difficult stretches as the Cubs look to take their talented young team to the next level, they've also shown some major signs as well, particularly with Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. Neither player has been able to gather much momentum when it comes to All-Star voting, but both are also extremely underrated at this point, making them two of the most overlooked stars in the entire league.

So far this year, Rizzo is having one of the most unheralded seasons in the N.L., whether the rest of the league knows it or not. Rizzo leads all National League first basemen in homers and has also hit for average, making him extremely potent in the heart of the Cubs' lineup. Even though Rizzo has shown some major power, he's also showed an uncanny ability to patient at the plate, keeping his on-base percentage at or above.400 throughout the course of the season so far – a gaudy number for anyone, particularly for a young player on the rise.

Then there's Starlin Castro, who has drove in more runs than any other shortstop in the entire league, including N.L. leading vote-getter, Troy Tulowitzki. With numbers like that out of a position that historically isn't known for run production, Castro is having an astoundingly underrated season so far this year, giving the Cubs plenty of reasons for optimism as fans get to watch these two budding young stars on a nightly basis. Whether they make it to the All-Star team or not, both Castro and Rizzo have shown that they're clearly in the discussion for best players at their positions.

Cubs Update – Week of June 20

Though seeing the Cubs at Wrigley is always a good idea, Cubs' fans have been treated to some very good baseball during recent road trips. The Cubs took two out of three from the Phillies in Philadelphia and then kept it going by winning two out of three against the Marlins in Miami, giving the Cubs a bit of momentum as they look to make a move up the N.L. Central standings. For the Cubs, the series win against the Marlins was the fourth out of five different series, showing that this is a team that definitely isn't going to be going quietly this season.

Within their little streak, the Cubs also got another example of what Travis Wood is capable of when he's clicking. Against the Phillies to close out the series, Wood pitched eight scoreless innings to hand deliver a 3-0 win for the Cubbies, improving his record on the season to 7-5. Wood is enjoying a bit of a hot streak in June as he continues to come on strong, consistently lowering his ERA throughout the month and establishing himself as a major part of the rotation for the Cubs.

Also starting to really pick it up is Starlin Castro, who is living up to the hype in the heart of the order despite playing a position historically not known for run production. After batting in 12 runs in May, Castro has already surpassed that in June with plenty of games to spare, leading the Cubs' offense in many major categories. Then there's Anthony Rizzo, who shook off a somewhat down month of May and is having a very productive month for the Cubbies. With their pitching and bats starting to come on strong, the Cubs are looking to move further up the division in the weeks to come, with fans expecting to see a few more home wins to go along with the strong road performances that are coming more and more regularly for the talented young Cubs.

Cubs Update – Week of June 13

Even with a couple of ups and downs this season, the Cubs proved recently that they still have plenty of fight. Despite being at the bottom of the N.L. Central, the Cubs have no intention of going quietly, which they showed recently by winning five straight games against the Mets and the Marlins to help the Cubs build a little bit of momentum. Outside of their five-game winning streak, the Cubs also had a nice win recently in Pittsburgh, where Anthony Rizzo and Travis Wood combined to help overshadow the big league debut of touted Pirates' star Gregory Polanco in a 7-3 win on June 10.

Cubs' fans were also glad to see another entry in the win column for Jeff Samardzija, who beat the Marlins recently with yet another dominant performance. Though Samardzija has struggled to actually get wins, it's been a different story in more recent outings and Samardzija still is pitching like a Cy Young candidate at the top of the rotation. It obviously helps that the Cubs' bats are also starting to come alive in a very big way, with Anthony Rizzo definitely leading the charge. With an on-base percentage over.400 still, Rizzo is showing to be as patient as he is dynamic at the plate, leading the team in homers, RBIs and batting average in the heart of the Cubs' lineup.

The Cubs will also hope that their recent pitching and hitting will continue as they continue a grueling road trip that will take them to Philly and Miami. Though the Cubs still have a way to go if they want to get back into the hunt in the N.L. Central, the word is out in the National League team that they have a talented team that can beat anyone if they start clicking, giving fans plenty of reasons for optimism as they look to continually make progress throughout the rest of 2014.

Cubs Update – Week of June 6

The Cubs have had a couple downs to go with the ups this season, but they showed a little bit of what they're capable of recently in Milwaukee, where they shutout the N.L. Central-leading Brewers to close out the month of May. Leading the way was Jason Hammel, who worked seven shutout innings to improve his record to 6-3, lowering his ERA to 2.78 in the process. Hammel's great season has somewhat gotten lost in the shuffle as far as the national conversation goes, but Cubs' fans know that the Hammel can still deal in a big way no matter who he's pitching against.

But it wasn't just about the pitching in their end-of-the-month romp of the Brewers, as the Cubs also got some timely hits as well on their way to their 8-0 win. Anthony Rizzo got it all going by belting his ninth and 10th homers of the season while the rest of the Cubs pitched in with some timely hitting – including from starting pitcher Hammel, who got a hit in three at-bats and scored a run to boot. Though the Cubs haven't quite been as consistent as they would like, they have been showing major flashes of their potential against some of the toughest teams in the league this season.

Not to be taken for granted this season, of course, has been the solid play of Starlin Castro, who continues to be one of the top-hitting shortstops in the league. Leading the team in RBIs midway through the month of June, Castro continues to be a rock in the heart of the order while playing a position that is generally considered a defensive one, providing the type of franchise centerpiece that the Cubs were hoping he'd be. Though he hasn't quite reached his abilities just yet, the 24-year-old phenomena is already one of the most dangerous players at his position and his future looks extremely bright in Chicago.

Cubs Update – Week of May 16

After a couple of tough road losses to the Braves, the Cubs showed what they were made of recently on the road against the Cardinals, where they dominated the Cards and put up 17 runs on the way to a 17-5 romp. In the game, Emilio Bonifacio was up to his usual tricks at the top of the lineup, going four for five, walking once and scoring five total runs on the day to set the table. From there, Junior Lake mainly picked up the rest, as he belted a homer and drove in six total runs on the day, with Anthony Rizzo, Starling Castro and Mike Olt all contributing at least two RBIs apiece.

Though the Cubs have had some rough stretches so far this season, the Cubs have shown quite a few times already this season that they have the type of talent that can turn on a dime and light up the scoreboard in a real hurry. When all things are clicking, the Cubs can even be one of the most potent in the entire league, giving fans plenty of reasons for optimism as the Cubbies head deeper into the season.

But one of the main reasons for optimism for the Cubs is Jeff Samardzija, who has been one of the most electrifying starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. Following his eighth start of the season, Samardzija lowered his ERA all the way down to a ridiculous 1.45. Even though the wins haven't quite come just yet for Samardzija, he's shown that he can be as dominant as anyone else in the league, and Cubs fans know that it's only a matter of time before the wins start coming at a much more rapid pace. The schedule won't get any easier, with upcoming matchups against the Brewers and Yankees at home, but the Cubs will be looking to come together and get a few winning streaks going.

Cubs Update – Week of May 9

The Cubs may have had a fairly rough start to the season, though there are still plenty of reasons for optimism in the Windy City as the Cubs head deeper into their 2014 schedule. The main reason, of course, has been Jeff Samardzja, who has been absolute terror on the mound and boasts one of the very best ERAs in the entire league for a starting pitcher. With an amazing ERA of 1.62 through his first seven starts of the season, Samardzja looks like the ace that the Cubs thought he might be, providing a backbone to build upon as the 29-year-old fireballer continues to improve at the top of the Cubs rotation.

On offense, the Cubs continue to be led by both Anthony Rizzo and Emilio Bonifacio. With Bonifacio terrorizing opposing pitchers and catchers with his ability to get on base and swipe second, the Cubs have instant offense at the top of their lineup. Then there's Rizzo, who continues to lead in power categories to give the Cubs a major bat in the heart of their order. But one of the most impressive thing about Rizzo has been his eye at the plate, as the 24-year-old also holds an on-base percentage above.400 and is showing that he has the type of patience to make him a superstar.

And one of the beautiful things about baseball is that a long season gives you plenty of chances at redemption. Even though it's been a rough start to the season, the Cubs have lots of opportunities in the coming weeks to start getting the ship headed in the right direction. With a tough road trip against both the Braves and then the Cardinals, the Cubs will be hoping to do exactly that and then they'll come home to take on the Yankees and the Brewers in two highly anticipated series.

Cubs Update – Week of April 18th

Even though it's a little bit bumpy so far for the Cubs, they still have shown some flashes of dominance as they look to get on the right track and make a big move up the N.L. Central standings. It helps that they have a major spark plug in Emilio Bonifacio, who leads the team with batting average and stolen bases in the early going and has given the Cubs plenty of ways to score. Anthony Rizzo has also been doing well when he squares up in the batter's box, with an on-base percentage over.400 through the first half of the month and serving as a major catalyst for the entire lineup. With an OPS over.900 in the early going, Rizzo has been one of the better hitters in the division so far, and the Cubs are hoping he can keep it up as the rest of the hitters look to hit full stride.

On the mound, Jeff Samardzija put together quality starts in each of his first three outings and he's already showing that he's capable of anchoring a pitching rotation, giving Cubs plenty of hopes for the future. Jason Hammel also won two of his first three starts and has also posted a quality save in all three of his early starts for the season, helping give the Cubs some serious talent in the rotation as they hope to pile up the wins and make a move up the standings.

Though the Cubs didn't win a series in the first half of April, they are looking to turn that around as they take on the Reds and Diamondbacks in back-to-back home series in the coming weeks. Then it's back onto the road for tests against the Brewers and the Reds before starting the month of May with a home series against division rivals St. Louis. With plenty of options on the schedule coming up and the talented Cubs looking to turn the corner and start getting a few winning streaks going, there has never been a better time to get out and see if the Cubs have what it takes.

Cubs Update – Week of April 11th

With the Cubs back in action, fans have already gotten an early taste for how explosive they can be, with some major nail-biting moments already and plenty more on the way. Leading the way has been Emilio Bonifacio, who was hitting well above.400 in the early going and was stealing nearly a base per game, putting plenty of pressure on opposing pitchers and showing that the Cubs can do a lot more than just swing for the fences. Of course, one player who can definitely swing for the fences is Starlin Castro, who was leading the team in the early going in power categories as he continues to establish himself as one of the best young shortstops in the game. Anthony Rizzo and Junior Lake have also provided a big-time spark, flashing the potential of the Cubs' lineup as they take aim at the rest of the N.L. Central.

Also helping the outlook for the team is number one starter Jeff Samardzija, who has slipped to the top of the rotation and put together quality starts in each of his first two outings. Jason Hammel and Travis Wood also provided quality starts in their first two starts of their seasons, giving them a well-balanced roster that has plenty of potential this season as they look to pile up the wins and make their move up the divisional standings. After some tough early-season away matchups against the Cardinals and the Yankees, the Cubs will then come home to take on the Reds and Diamondbacks at home before wrapping up the first month with away games against the Brewers and Reds. With the Cubs flashing some major signs of life and looking to end the first month of the season on a high note, there are sure to be plenty of memorable moments as they continue to swing their way to prominence in the N.L. Central.

2014 Chicago Cubs Schedule

The Chicago Cubs boast one of the most dedicated fans bases in Major League Baseball, something that is on full display every time the Cubs take to the diamond at Wrigley Field. With early season home matchups against the D-Backs and the Reds, Cubs' fans have plenty to look forward to in the early going as the Cubs look to pile up the wins and end up as major factors in the N.L. Central. But even though home games are obviously great, there's also plenty of Cubs fanfare on the road, which you can bank on continuing when they head out to Milwaukee and Cincinnati to wrap up April. From there, it's a steady string of unbelievable matchups throughout the season as the talented Cubs look to reach their potential and swing their way to being major factors in the National League.

But some of the very best games that go down from season to season take place against big-time N.L. Central rivals. The Cardinals were able to win the National league Central title last season and advanced all the way to the World Series, so they're naturally going to be a tough team to take down in 2014. The Cardinals again look like a formidable team, so any wins against this ball club would go a long way for a Chicago team that is looking to climb to the top of the division standings. The Chicago Cubs will also have to give it everything they've got on the baseball diamond when the Pittsburgh Pirates come to town. The Pirates were able to finish second in the National League Central standings last season, winning 94 games and earning a Wild Card berth into the playoffs for the first time in quite a while. With the Reds and Brewers also not going quietly, there are sure to be plenty of amazing games loaded with towering homers, spectacular catches and jaw-dropping moments that you'll be talking about a long time after the final pitch.

Chicago Cubs Team Info

The Chicago Cubs play in the National League Central division of Major League Baseball, a division that also features the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs ended last season in last place in the N.L. Central, but there is nowhere to go but up from there. The Cubs have loads of young talent that the organization is ready to let loose on the rest of the league, and that should help the team increase their win total in 2014. This Cubs team has very high hopes for the 2014 season, and will be playing their hearts out in an effort to shoot up the standings in the National League Central. It also helps that they have budding superstars like Starlin Castro in the middle of the lineup, helping make them a formidable foe throughout the season as they look to round into form. In the pitching rotation, they also aren't exactly lacking in major talent, with Jeff Samardzija leading the way and showing how it's down at the top of the rotation.

The MLB Experience

Nothing compares to being in the ballpark when two good Major League Baseball teams match up for a battle of the ages. Being there in person when the Cubs hit the field this season is sure to be one heck of a good time, as it is each and every season. Wrigley Field is one of the oldest stadiums in the country, and you'll be wowed by the rich history that the ballpark has. The Cubs always play hard and their fans always cheer hard, which makes for a great atmosphere in which to take in a game. Make sure to be a part of it all this season when the Cubs hit the field to take on a division rival or a cross-league foe that will guarantee plenty of fanfare. Though there are plenty of different ways to be entertained these days or to follow baseball, it still doesn't get any better than actually being there and watching all the action first-hand as the best ballplayers in the world clash on the diamond.

Chicago Cubs History

The Chicago Cubs franchise was founded in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings, but didn't settle on the name The Cubs until 1903. The Cubs have called Wrigley Field home since 1916, making Wrigley one of the oldest ballparks in the country. The Cubs currently suffer from the longest World Series title drought, as the last time the team won the World Championship was in 1908. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. Since then, however, they've still managed to build an enormous fan base thanks to a steady stream of great players and potent teams, with all-time greats like Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Sammy Sosa and more all playing their best years in Chicago and showing fans what great baseball is supposed to look like.

Chicago Cubs Trivia

Who was the last Chicago Cubs pitcher to win the Cy Young Award?

The answer is Greg Maddux, who won the award in 1992. Even though Maddux never had overpowering stuff, he would go down as one of the geniuses of the pitching rubber. Maddux even had a streak of 17 straight seasons of winning at least 15 games, setting a Major League Baseball record in the process. What started in a Chicago uniform also continued in Atlanta, as Maddux won four straight Cy Young Awards and won a ridiculous 18 Gold Gloves just for kicks.

The Fans

Fans of the Chicago Cubs are readily awaiting a trip to the World Series for the Cubs, and every year they seem to get a bit more passionate, which is really saying something. Cubs fans are among the most loyal in all of Major League Baseball, cheering on their Cubs whether they're winning or losing, rain or shine. The Cubs are an historic franchise, and normally that means the team has great fans. That is certainly the case with the Chicago Cubs, and you can see that for yourself when you head to the ballpark this season. As soon as you're there soaking up the vibes of a great game, you'll see why it doesn't get any better than a little bit of America's Pastime at Wrigley.

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