2020 Chicago Cubs
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2020 Chicago Cubs / Franchise: Chicago Cubs / BR Team Page
Clinched Division: September 26, 2020
Managed by David Ross
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2020 Chicago Cubs entered the season with a new manager, David Ross, and a strong expectation that they should return to the postseason after missing out in 2019. In deed, the Joe Maddon era ended on a down note with the Cubs' sub-par season, as the team that was widely expected to become a dynasty after winning a World Series in 2016 failed to repeat in subsequent years. The team seemed to have become listless and lack direction, with a chronic inability to find a lead-off hitter and to build a reliable bullpen. In came Ross, one of the heroes of 2016 in his first managerial gig, but there were relatively few changes to playing personnel.
Whatever Ross's recipe for success was, it worked better than anyone had anticipated when the season finally got going in late July. After 15 games - a quarter of the season in this strange abbreviated year - the Cubs record stood at 12-3. It was both the best in the majors in terms of winning percentage, and the best 15-game start in team history. The starting pitching had been lights out, with veterans Kyle Kendrick, Jon Lester and Yu Darvish building on their success of the previous year, and Tyler Chatwood being suddenly very good after having finally harnessed the control problems that had plagued him for years. The starters' ERA was an excellent 2.65 and the line-up was putting plenty of runs on the scoreboard in spite of a low batting average, as everyone was hitting extra-base hits and drawing walks. In fact only OF Ian Happ and DH Jason Kipnis, both with an OPS above 1.000 had put up eye-popping numbers, but the success was a result of everyone pitching in from top to bottom. This made it easier to forget that closer Craig Kimbrel had apparently completely lost his mojo and was down to the status of reclamation project. In his absence, Jeremy Jeffress and Rowan Wick had pitched lights out.
Awards and Honors
- Jordan Bastian: "'Feel the love': 3 keys to Cubs' hot start: Energy accompanies full team effort in building 9-2 record", mlb.com, August 5, 2020. 
- Jordan Bastian: "1 through 9, Cubs' lineup is straight damage", mlb.com, August 13, 2020. 
- Jordan Bastian: "Cubs clinch 1st NL Central title since 2017", mlb.com, September 27, 2020