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May 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Junior Lake (21) , center fielder Emilio Bonifacio (64) and right fielder Nate Schierholtz (19) celebrate after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs: What's in store for the month ahead?

The Chicago Cubs are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. While some might expect them to put up better numbers than they really do, it seems as though Chicago can never put together a strong run at any point of the season. Here’s a look ahead at the month of May, including some key things to watch.

Plenty of hot starts

  • Anthony Rizzo has been the guy in the lineup the Cubs have needed. He’s hitting .295 with 15 RBIs thus far. For Chicago to keep winning, Rizzo has to continue his dominance in the lineup.
  • Starlin Castro has to continue to be a leading presence. He is  hitting .306 with a strong 14 RBIs, including five doubles.
  • Emilio Bonifacio has been red-hot, hitting .343 in over 100 at-bats. If he continues success and gets a few more clutch hits, the Cubs are set.

Improvements needed

  • Junior Lake‘s play must improve. He’s struggling to keep his batting average over .220, and his strikeouts have piled up at a record pace. While he isn’t generally relied upon to be the star of the lineup, he certainly isn’t making it easy for Rick Renteria to keep him in the lineup.
  • Edwin Jackson has to be better on the mound. His 5.24 ERA isn’t cutting it – neither is his 1.57 WHIP. The Cubs need strong starting pitching with their offense, and Jackson must improve.
  • Carlos Villanueva has been pitiful in his starts, as he owns an ERA above 10.00. He has allowed at-least five runs in his last three starts, not going more than five innings. Against the St. Louis Cardinals earlier in April, he allowed nine earned runs. For the Cubs to win, they’ll need better starts from Villanueva.

Bottom line

The Cubs have to win tough games. They’ll have a heavy stretch of games against the Milwaukee Brewers later in the month, and they face a nine-game road stretch starting next week. To be safe, they’ll want to be above .500 heading back home later this May.

Tags: Chicago Cubs

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