Good morning, Chicago!

As I wrote a few Mondays ago, we sure could use a nice baseball surprise this summer.

Maybe the Cubs are up to the challenge?

While they’re not red-hot like the 14-2 Tampa Bay Rays, the North Siders are off to a solid 8-6 start after winning this weekend’s series at Dodger Stadium.

The Cubs have taken two of three from the Rangers, Mariners and Dodgers — three presumed playoff contenders — in three successive series. One more out on Saturday night and the Cubs would’ve swept the Dodgers.

But this start has been built on a solid foundation so far and not smoke and mirrors. The pitching staff’s ERA of 3.58 is seventh-best in the majors and second-best in the NL behind the Brewers. Patrick Wisdom has been dialed in with six homers —three of which came at Dodger Stadium — and a 1.008 OBP. Cody Bellinger’s off to a promising start both at the plate and on the field. Seiya Suzuki is back in the lineup while Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner could be the team’s next “Bryzzo.”

After two depressing seasons, there’s a lot to like about the team.

But it’s still early, of course. The Cubs aren’t even 10 percent of the way into the season and 14 games isn’t anything close to representing a good sample size.

Still, if you came into the season hoping the team could play entertaining baseball and compete for a playoff spot the entire season, they haven’t given you any reason to feel foolish about it yet.

Quite the opposite, really.

✍️ Ryan Herrera on the Cubs’ new “core” finally coming into place
🎧 Subscribe to the CHGO Cubs Podcast on Apple Podcasts

Have you gotten your draft party tickets yet?

The Week Ahead

• The Cubs’ West Coast swing continues tonight with a three-game set against the A’s, who are off to a worst-in-baseball 3-13 start. They’ll return home on Thursday for a four-game set against the Dodgers.

• The White Sox haven’t been as encouraging as they’ve started the season 6-10 and have yet to win a series. Phillies are in town for three starting tonight, followed by a weekend trip to face the juggernaut Rays.

• The Bulls season is over and now the front office must navigate a salary cap/luxury tax situation that doesn’t provide many avenues for improving the team, Mark K writes. (Diehard Level)

• The Fire are in Atlanta next Sunday after a draw against Philly on Saturday night. They currently occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

• The Red Stars got their first win of the season with a 4-2 victory over Kansas City on Saturday. They’ll travel to Seattle on Saturday to face the OL Reign.

Bears players are back at Halas Hall for the offseason program, which begins today. Team president Kevin Warren officially starts his new job as well.

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CHGO head of content. Leading a dream staff in the city I love and making it fun to be a Chicago sports fan.