Cubs April 2016 Review: Arrieta No-Hitter, Fowler Smokin’ Hot, Schwarber Injury, 17 Wins
The Cubs have gotten off to a hot start this season with a 17-6 record in April. In fact, it looks a lot like how they finished the 2015 regular season last year. During the second half of 2015 something clicked, almost like a light switch turned on. The Cubs went from good to great. They’ve successfully managed to manifest that same approach into the first month of the 2016 season.
It seems like yesterday when the Cubs were leaving Arizona and spring training behind. Here’s a look back at each game during the month of April.
The Cubs got the season started in Anaheim, California, not too far from their spring training home in Arizona. They opened the season with a sweep of the Angels. It was this series where they found the scoring magic, outscoring the Angels 15-1 in the two games. Cubs Record 2-0.
The next stop was a quick swing back through Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks. Little did we know how much this road trip would hurt the Cubs, literally. Kyle Schwarber’s season ended on a collision with Dexter Fowler as they were both trying to catch a deep fly ball. Jake Arrieta also hammered his first home run of the year all, soaring a majestic 442 feet. Cubs Record 5-1.
- Cubs 14, Dbacks 6; Anthony Rizzo Shows Why He’s MVP Material
- Dbacks 3, Cubs 2; Tough End to a Tough Day
- Cubs 4, Dbacks 2; Hendricks Solid in Great Win For Cubs
- Cubs 7, Dbacks 3; Cubs, Arrieta Deliver Knock Out Blow, Win Series 3-1
Home Sweet Home
After spending almost two months away from home, the Cubs finally return and get to see their incredible new clubhouse firsthand. The opening night at Wrigley Field was magical. There was a really nice tribute to Kyle Schwarber and a tremendous level of anticipation and excitement for all Cubs fans.
The Cubs didn’t disappoint the fans that first night. Addison Russell hit a towering game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth inning and the place exploded. Kris Bryant got his first two home runs of the year in back-to-back games. And Dexter Fowler just kept lighting it up. Cubs Record 8-1.
- Cubs 5, Reds 3; Cubs Scrap Out Gutsy Win in First Game of Reds Series
- Cubs 9, Reds 2; Cubs Make it Look Easy, Cruise Past the Reds
- Cubs 8, Reds 1; Hits Just Keep Coming as Cubs Sweep Reds
In the next series against the Rockies the Cubs proved that they were mortal, dropping two-of-three to the Rockies. The first game was literally a comedy of errors, four to be exact, by the Cubs. The following night Jake started and, well, he was Jake. Lester’s second start of the year was good but the Rockies Tyler Chatwood was better. Cubs Record 9-3.
- Rockies 6, Cubs 1; Just One of Those Days, Cubs Fall Short
- Cubs 6, Rockies 2; Jake Unflappable, Cubs Cruise to Win Against Rockies
- Rockies 2, Cubs 0; Lester’s Gem Not Enough as Cubs Fall Short
Road Trip #2
The Cubs took their show on the Road to take on rival St. Louis. John Lackey took the mound in the first game, adding even more intrigue to an already interesting series. John dominated his old team as he struck out eleven batters. Jason Hammel shut down the Cardinals in the second game of the series and Jason Heyward made his presence felt with a defensive gem in right field. And wouldn’t you know it, the Cubs get a shot at the sweep but fall short after a 3+ hour rain delay. Oh, and Dexter Fowler just kept lighting it up. Cubs Record 11-4.
- Cubs 5, Cardinals 0; Lackey Dominates the Cardinals, Cubs Take First Game of Series
- Cubs 2, Cardinals 1; Cubs Pull Out Scrappy Win, Go For Sweep of Cardinals Tomorrow
- Cardinals 5, Cubs 3; A Cloudy End to an Otherwise Sunny Series, Cubs Take Two of Three From Cardinals
Next up, the Cubs headed to Cincinnati to play the Reds. There was Jake Arrieta’s dominant no-hitter, a Kris Bryant grand slam, four home runs by Rizzo and the Cubs offense outscored the Reds 38-14 in the series. Cubs Record 14-5.
- Cubs 16, Reds 0; I am Superman, and I Can Do Anything – Arrieta Reigns Supreme
- Cubs 8, Reds 1; Cubs Keep Cruising, Lester Smooth and Steady
- Reds 13, Cubs 5; When it Rains it Pours, Cubs Forget Umbrellas at Home
- Cubs 9, Reds 0; La Stella Does it All, Cubs Hammer Reds to Win Series 3-1
A rainy return to Wrigley
The Cubs returned to Wrigley and were greeted by cold and rainy weather. Two games of the scheduled six game home stand would get postponed. In the Brewers series Addison Russell’s triple lead the Cubs to the win in the first game. Jake Arrieta wins but his home scoreless streak of 55 2/3 innings come to an end. Cubs Record 16-5.
- Cubs 4, Brewers 3; Russell Leads Cubs to Win Over Brewers, Hendricks Solid on Chilly Night at Wrigley Field
- Cubs 7, Brewers 2; Cubs Roll Behind Strong Arrieta Outing
The Cubs, coming fresh off their first sweep (sort of) and first rain out, prepared to take on the Braves in the final series in April. Two of the three games were scheduled in April but only one would happen due to the Cubs second rain out of the early season. The Cubs win was highlighted by Matt Szczur’s grand slam. They tie the club record set in 2008 for most wins in the month of April. Cubs Record 17-5.
The Cubs have excelled in all phases of the game in this first month of April. Offensively they rank #2 in the Majors in fWAR, Runs, RBIs and OBP. They rank #1 in BB, which I like to call the measure of a teams patience.
They’re pretty good at pitching too. The Cubs rank #1 in wins, tied with, yes, the White Sox for most wins in the Majors. They’re ranked #2 in ERA and FIP. And in fielding they rank #1 in Def.
In almost every aspect of the game the Cubs ranked at or near the top of the league. Interestingly, they were middle of the pack in AVG, BABIP and HRs. As the weather heats up expect those number to start to heat up too.