Cubs hoping work on the bases pay big dividends down the stretch

AP Photo/David Banks

The Cubs led MLB with 64 outs on base in 2019, but have seen dramatic improvements. They rank 15th in outs on base this season.

Being a better team on the base paths has been a big point of emphasis for David Ross since he became manager of the Cubs and it’s shown in the Cubs’ recent victories.

With the offense slowly coming around, being aggressive and taking the extra base down the stretch can be the difference down the stretch as they showed in Tuesday’s 6-5 win over the Indians.

But the Cubs manager was quick to point out after the game that the club still had areas to improve after a few mistakes in Tuesday’s win prevented the team from potentially having big innings.

The team led MLB with 64 outs on base in 2019 and rank 15th in OOB this season.

“We try to talk about responsible baserunning,” Ross said. “You don’t ever want to take the aggressiveness out of the guys. I think knowing game situations is important, knowing the game state means a lot. That being said, we still are going to make some mistakes. We’re not perfect or robots by any means. … Every mistake is a moment to teach and get better, so that’s the way I look at it.

One of those teachable moments came in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game as Willson Contreras was thrown out trying to turn a single into a double after the Cubs had scored two runs with a chance to score more.

Ian Happ was caught stealing prior to the team scoring another run in the seventh. But while Ross wants his players to read game situations, he knows that he also has to put players in positions to succeed.

“You just kind of have conversations and try to rein them back into what may be a different way to look at certain situations,” Ross said. “But overall, I’ve been very proud of the group.

“There’s definitely some scenarios that the manager puts them in that may not be the best situation to send a guy every once a while. So we’re all we’re all accountable.”

Darvish’s ERA does down after scoring change

If Yu Darvish wins this year’s National League Cy Young award, the surprise he received on Wednesday could be a deciding factor.

Darvish allowed three earned runs over seven innings in his no-decision with two of those runs coming in the third inning after Delino DeShields bunt single and throwing error by Kris Bryant.

On Wednesday, the official scorer from the Cubs’ win ruled that only one of the runs against Darvish in the inning were earned, lowering his ERA from 2.00 to 1.86. The Cubs’ ace ranks third in NL in ERA behind Cy Young candidates Jacob deGrom and Trevor Bauer.

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