Chicago Cubs: Team rolled as Contreras got hot
One year ago today, the Chicago Cubs sat at 42-42, 3 1/2 games out in the Central. By the time the Midsummer Classic rolled around, that deficit grew to 5 1/2 games with the Cubs two games under .500.
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That’s largely because during the 2016 championship run, the Cubs steamrolled pretty much everyone they played. For a good chunk of the season, talk of breaking the all-time win record permeated Wrigleyville bars. Instead, Chicago ‘settled’ for 103 wins, a division title and, eventually, a World Series crown.
But from the All-Star Break on last season, the Cubs got hot – and I mean hot. Chicago went 49-25 in the second half. After posting an even run differential in the first half, the club put up a +126 after the break en route to a second consecutive division crown, holding off the pesky Brewers.
And as the Cubs go, so goes Willson Contreras.
In June and July, the Chicago catcher tore the cover off the ball. For both months, he wound up with an OPS north of 1.000. He continued to hit in August, as well, but then fell victim to injury. All told, he hit around .320 for two months with an OBP pushing .380. No matter what opposing pitchers threw at him, Contreras excelled.