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07/10/2006 5:06 PM ET
Cubs getting hot; hope to continue streak after the break

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The Iowa Cubs enter the All-Star break clicking on all cylinders, but hopefully the three days off for the Midsummer Classic won't make the engine misfire.

The Cubs will come off the break as winners of five of their last six games and 16 of their last 25, and despite being one game below .500 at 44-45; they sit just three games out of first place behind the Nashville Sounds. Just over one month ago on June 5, the Cubs were eight games back and seemingly falling fast, having lost four games in the standings in five days. Since then, the Cubs have played eight series; winning five, splitting two and losing just one.

The Cubs pitching staff has been steady throughout most of the season, as they currently sit in third place in the Pacific Coast League in ERA (3.67) and are tied for first in strikeouts with Las Vegas, fanning 691 hitters so far this year. But a huge part to the Cubs recent success has been the ability of the offense to get on base and score more runs. The Cubs have plated six or more runs in six of their last 18 games, but had done so just six times in the previous 38 games before that. In addition, the Cubs have hit .275 so far in the month of July compared to just .254 in April, May and June combined, and are striking out once every 6.09 at-bats in July compared to once every 5.18 at-bats in the first three months of the season.

Statistically, the Cubs are led on the mound by Rich Hill, who boasts a record of 6-1 and a league-leading 1.84 ERA. He has struck out 107 batters, good for third in the PCL, and has double digit strikeouts in four of his 13 starts.

At the plate, Ryan Theriot owns the best batting average at the break, hitting at a .308 clip and also leads the teams with 14 stolen bases. Michael Restovich is on top in the other two major offensive categories, hitting 14 homers and riving in 44 runs despite playing in just 67 of the Cubs first 89 games.

FIRST HALF FACTS: The Cubs lead the PCL in games played decided by two runs or less with 54...the Cubs are the only team in the PCL to not score 10 or more runs in a game...eight players have been on the active roster the entire first month- Buck Coats, Brandon Emanuel, Mike Fontenot, Casey McGehee, Ryan O'Malley, Augie Ojeda, Felix Pie and Les Walrond.

by Matt Nordby, Iowa Cubs. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.