Chicago Cubs' sweep of Baltimore Orioles boosts morale of defending champs

BALTIMORE — Willson Contreras — a major leaguer all of 13 months — seemingly lacks the big-picture perspective to distill just what the Chicago Cubs did to start the second half. 

Then again, it was audacious youth that largely drove the Cubs to a World Series championship in 2016. So maybe we should heed the words of their 25-year-old catcher after Chicago came into Camden Yards flush with a new ace, outscored the Baltimore Orioles by 16 runs and played what manager Joe Maddon said was by far their finest series of this season.

“I think we are back,” Contreras said after the Cubs completed their three-game throttling with an 8-0 victory Sunday. “Back to where we were last year. I hope we can be like this for a lot of games.” 

Hold up. A club that’s never been more than four games over .500, that gave up as many runs as it scored in the first half, that toted a 4.46 club ERA into Baltimore and that remains 4 ½ games behind the Milwaukee Brewers — they’re suddenly on the same…

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