I know this much: The Chicago Cubs are happy May is over. The San Diego Padres just completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs with a 2-1 victory behind Luis Perdomo. The Cubs finished 12-16 in the month, have lost six in a row, fell two games under .500, hit .217 for the month and were swept in three series by the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Padres.
The Cubs aren't alone. We should all be happy May is over. Think of everything that went down in this contentious month:
We had the Bryce Harper-Hunter Strickland fight, a sorry episode that included Jeff Samardzija giving teammate Mike Morse a concussion when the two collided in a rush to send Harper to Alcatraz in a body bag.
We had Don Mattingly losing his mind when Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager swung at a 3-0 pitch with a 5-0 lead, which led to Marlins reliever AJ Ramos plunking Brett Eibner, which led to Ross Stripling throwing behind Giancarlo Stanton, which led to benches-clearing excitement.
We had the Jose Bautista flare-up with the Atlanta Braves when Bautista flipped his bat after a home run -- when the Toronto Blue Jays were down 8-3. The benches emptied, although without any punches thrown. The next night, Braves pitcher Julio Teheran plunked Bautista, which didn't lead to a fight, but did lead to a three-run rally for the Blue Jays.
In a series of incidents that began in April and culminated in May, Chris Sale threw behind Manny Machado, prompting commissioner Rob Manfred to hold a conference call with the two organizations to tell them to knock if off.
In other news, we had two of the biggest stars in the game go down with significant injuries: Freddie Freeman fractured his wrist after getting hit by a pitch, and Mike Trout went down with a torn ligament in his thumb.
Mr. Met made an obscene gesture to fans Wednesday night. "Say it ain't so, Mr. Met!"
Is that all? Did I miss anything? Heck, throw in Noah Syndergaard's injury if you want. He last pitched on April 30 but was placed on the disabled list in May with a right lat strain.
With all that, the worst month might have belonged to the Philadelphia Phillies, who went an abysmal 6-22 with a 5.49 ERA and were outscored by 64 runs. They didn't win two games in a row the entire month. That's a rough month.
Maybe the Cubs aren't that good. I think they're better than this, but there are legitimate issues here beyond a good team playing mediocre baseball. Perdomo threw a career-high 51 percent curveballs, double his normal rate, and that change in approach worked, as the Cubs went 0-for-11 against his fastball. There are OBP concerns, especially with Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell struggling, and everybody in the rotation has been worse than last season. Here's a telling stat: The Seattle Mariners have run through 12 starting pitchers and yet still have a lower rotation ERA than the Cubs.
Then there's this: The Cubs are 9-14 against winning teams. While they cleaned up against losing teams a year ago -- 72-33 -- they also went 31-25 against winning teams. The June schedule opens Friday with a 10-game homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies. The NL Central is awash in mediocrity, so the Cubs aren't in any extreme danger, but they don't look like a team that's going to run away with this division.
The Astros crush the Minnesota Twins with no mercy. That was mean. The Astros set a franchise record for runs in a series, scoring 40 in just three games, including a 17-6 victory on Wednesday. George Springer went 4-for-4 with two walks, and this mammoth shot into the upper deck in Minnesota:
The Astros scored 28 runs off Twins relievers in nine innings. They've won seven in a row. For the first time in franchise history, they have MLB's best record through May. Remember Carlos Correa's bad April? He hit .386/.457/.673 in May with six home runs. Here's the interesting thing: His ground ball rate was actually higher in May. He simply hit more balls harder. Then there's super-sub Marwin Gonzalez, who launched his 12th home run and has to be considered a potential All-Star, given his .638 slugging percentage that would rank third in the AL if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. I guess what I'm saying: The Astros are pretty good.
Quick thoughts ... Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka was pounded by the Orioles, and the concerns about him grow. In six starts in May, he posted an 8.34 ERA with 11 home runs and 48 hits in 31 innings. His strikeout and walk rates look good at 34 to 7, but the fastball has no life as batters hit .528 and slugged 1.128 against in May. ... Kevin Gausman got the "win" but did not pitch well, walking batters even with a big lead. At one point, Orioles announcer Jim Palmer laid into him. Hard to blame Palmer, as Gausman has been one of the worst starters in the league. ... Ryan Schimpf update: He hit his 14th home run, has 26 hits, is on pace for 41 home runs and six doubles, and despite hitting .168, has a higher wOBA than guys such as Christian Yelich, Mark Trumbo, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Santana, Andrew Benintendi and Manny Machado. Yes, baseball is weird. ... Your NL home run leader: Scott Schebler! It's not just a cozy home ballpark thing, as 10 have come on the road. Like Adam Duvall last year, Schebler is an older minor leaguer the Reds were willing to give a chance to play, exactly what a rebuilding team should do. ... The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in 14 innings, with T.J. McFarland getting the win with three hitless innings. The D-backs signed him after the Orioles released him in spring training. ... Finally, the Tampa Bay Rays with a dramatic win over the Rangers as Kevin Kiermaier hit a game-tying, two-out homer off Matt Bush in the ninth, and then Logan Morrison and Derek Norris homered off Sam Dyson in the 10th. The last time the Rays did that: Dan Johnson and Evan Longoria in the famous Game No. 162 in 2011. ... Dyson clearly wins least valuable player of April and May. He dipped to 1-6 with a 10.80 ERA.