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by alex ciepley
Over the past seven games, the Cubs have six wins and one loss. During this stretch—arguably the hottest the team's been this year—they've outscored their opponents 61-29.
The scores in the six wins:
The score in the one loss:
It bears repeating: Good teams don't necessarily win one- and two-run games. Good teams win blowouts. I know, I know, this is starting to seem like "Alex's Little Obsession", but I too often hear cries in the media and elsewhere that losing close games are somehow a reflection of a ballclub's character, and I think it's all just a bunch of phooey.
Through yesterday's game, the Cubs are an unlucky 13-22 in one-run games. Sometimes a really bad bullpen can be partially to blame for a poor performance in close ballgames, but since the Cubs have a slightly better than average bullpen, I don't know that this is a good argument. Sometimes a horrid bench can contribute to losses in close games, and while the Cubs' bench is certainly below average, it also isn't responsible for a nine-game deficit in one-run games.
When the difference is five or more runs, however, the Cubs dominate -- putting up an astounding 22-8 record in games with a big run differential. This is a how a good team operates: it gets excellent pitching performances while scoring runs in bunches.
The Cubs have been getting a lot of good pitching performances of late (and are still second in MLB with a 3.73 staff ERA), and are starting to score those bundles of runs. It's a good team—make that a very good team—and one that enters today's Brewers series wrapup with a one-game lead in the Wild Card race.