Chicago Cubs: Is Chili to blame for all these struggles?
Willson Contreras set a new career-high in games caught (and played) – and looked gassed by the All-Star Break. His offense followed the same trajectory as the rest of the team, hitting just .200 with a .294 slugging percentage in the second half.
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Kris Bryant burst out of the gates at a torrid rate before he was hit in the face by a pitch and later tweaked a shoulder – an injury that lingered the rest of the year. As Sahadev Sharma pointed out on Thursday, the slugger batted .311/.422/.595 in the first 38 games of the season – MVP-caliber numbers.
After injuring his shoulder trying to beat out a ball, his numbers plummeted (.249/.339/.378). Late in the season, even after he returned, he clearly wasn’t the same guy. Pitchers were pumping low-90s heat past him like it was 98 or 99. Regardless of the official story, Bryant wasn’t himself.
Anthony Rizzo proved to be the antithesis of the offense. Instead of starting hot and going cold, he did the opposite, starting out with one of the worst offensive stretches of his career before catching fire and, once again, eclipsing 100 RBI on the final day of the season. But, all told, the team’s bats faded – no, that’s not the word. They completely vanished down the stretch, as they watched Milwaukee overcome them for the NL Central crown.