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Cubs already looking like the 1998 Yankees

The 2016 Cubs, like the 1998 Yankees, are making their at-bats count and feasting on weak opponents, and they haven't necessarily hit full stride yet. Getty Images, AP Photo

The Chicago Cubs' front office continues to try to make the team better, writes Gordon Wittenmyer.

The team, as a whole, is off to one of the strongest starts in major league history, with a 20-6 record and a run differential of plus-93.

They are doing what the New York Yankees of 1998 did: consistently generate competitively and sound at-bats throughout each game, and systematically wreck a league that happens to be saturated with noncompetitive teams.

In 1998, the American League added the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, an expansion club which went 1-11 against the Yankees. Kansas City was winless in 10 games against New York that year, allowing 78 runs in 89 innings. Similarly, the Cubs have destroyed the Reds, outscoring them 60-20 this season.

But the Cubs also just finished a sweep of the Pirates, overwhelming them. There were moments in which an at-bat or a play could’ve taken a game down a different path, and on Wednesday that crossroad occurred when Andrew McCutchen dropped a line drive, extending a Cubs rally -- here's the play -- and Ben Zobrist clubbed the next pitch from Juan Nicasio for a three-run homer.

Generally, however, the series wasn't competitive: The Cubs dominated Pittsburgh over the three days, outscoring the Pirates 20-5, outhitting them 34-21 and nearly doubling the number of walks drawn, 15 to eight. This season, the Cubs have collected 139 walks and allowed just 66, a set of numbers that is at the heart of their success.

Here's what is a little frightening about all of this for other NL teams, including the Pirates and Cardinals, who are faced with the task of trying to run down Chicago over the rest of the season: Individually, most of the 2016 Cubs -- like the '98 Yankees -- aren't necessarily playing at their best.