Cubs hitters rebound, but outfield still lagging

Offensively, the Cubs got off to one of the worst starts imaginable, but the turnaround has been just as dramatic.

After Friday's game, the Cubs now rank seventh in the majors in runs scored (149), sixth in home runs (41) and 11th in slugging percentage (.403), not to mention second in stolen bases (25).

"I don't think it was ever a question if the offense was going to be all right. Maybe for some of you guys," Ian Happ said on a Zoom call with reporters. "I think we were all really confident that the offense was going to be just fine and it as just a matter of time.

"I think we knew going into spring training that the depth we had on the offensive side was fantastic and believe in those guys day in and day out."

However, the outfield has been kind of a sticking point. Joc Pederson is batting .183, Jason Heyward .182 and Happ .167. That's a big reason why Kris Bryant has played outfield almost exclusively the past two weeks, while Matt Duffy has been at third base.

Pederson did get 3 hits Friday, after having a couple of good moments against his former team, the Dodgers, earlier this week. Pederson was great in the spring, but cooled off once he got to windy Wrigley Field.

"Definitely feel a lot better at the plate," Pederson said Friday. "I think that's where I got in trouble, chasing spring instead of getting in the box and competing. Getting back to winning pitches, one at a time.

"It's a long season and a lot of good players on this team. It's fun to be a part of it. Winning, hitting - all that's contagious. So building on good energy, positive vibes and keep moving forward, keep winning ballgames."

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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