Chicago Cubs: 2017 team mirroring the body of work of 2015 club
By Tim Stebbins
The 2017 has been an up-and-down season for the Chicago Cubs. Be that as it may, their record is quite similar to what the 2015 team’s was at this point.
Yes, the 2017 Chicago Cubs will not win 103 games as they did one season ago. Yes, they have not been as dominant this season as they were in 2016. However, they are in first place, with a record quite similar to a team that recently made the postseason.
In 2015, the Cubs finished the regular season with a 97-65 record, third in the NL Central standings. The team took off in August and September, going an outstanding 19-9 in both months.
Realistically, the 2015 Cubs solidified their position at the top of the NL standings during these two months. While they did not post a sub-.500 record in a month all season, their 55-47 record entering August was far from where they ultimately finished.
Fast forward to 2017, where the Cubs entered August 56-48; their .538 winning percentage was nearly identical to the .539 posted by the 2015 team at this point.
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Are the 2017 Cubs better than many give them credit for?
Entering August 27, the 2017 Cubs were 69-59 (.539), while the 2015 team was 73-52 (.584) entering this date. While the 2015 Cubs played three less games at this point, they still held a better record, albeit by just four wins.
Essentially, although the Cubs have played underwhelming baseball at times this season, they are not far from where they were in 2015. Furthermore, while the 2015 Cubs had a better record at this point in the calendar, they were in third place. Even with a lesser record, the 2017 Cubs are in first place.
Statistically, many of the 2015 and 2017 Cubs’ individual statistics are quite similar as well. Entering August 27, 2015, Kris Bryant was hitting .265 in 116 games (423 at-bats), while Anthony Rizzo was hitting .288 through 124 games (452 at-bats).
2017 team could finish regular season just like 2015 team
Entering Sunday, Bryant is hitting .289 in 120 games (439 at-bats), while Rizzo is hitting .275 in 126 games (466 at-bats). Addison Russell was hitting .247 in 106 games (365 at-bats), while he is hitting .241 in 97 games (319 at-bats) this season.
This season, the Cubs posted a strong record of 16-8 in July and are 13-11 in August (entering Sunday). If they are able to finish the month strong, they will be in a similar position record-wise as 2015 entering September.
Assuming that the 2017 Cubs would be an exact replica of last season was probably an unfair expectation. Regardless, they are still in line to make the postseason for a third consecutive year, which would be their first time doing so in the divisional era (1969-present).
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The Cubs can wipe their slate clean by simply getting into the playoffs. In 2015, they made it to the NLCS despite being a Wild Card team. If they can get to October this year, there is no telling what will happen.