The Cubs have been excellent in the second half of the baseball season since Joe Maddon came to town. In 2019, Cubs fans have witnessed this again firsthand and can expect more of the same going forward.
Coming into this season, the Chicago Cubs had gone 189-103 in the second half of seasons since Joe Maddon took over as skipper. Adding in the eight games (7-1 record) they’ve played already in 2019 since the break, you can make that 196-104. That’s not a misprint- the Cubs have played at a .653 clip, a 106 win pace, in the second half under Maddon.
Say what you will about the Cubs polarizing lame duck of a manager, he knows how to get the best from his troops in the second half, and he knows how to keep guys fresh when most teams are melting down in 100-degree heat in the heart of summer.
While other managers are wearing down their stars in the field and on the mound? Maddon mixes and matches his way through the season. Often vexing many fans and the Twittersphere as a whole in the process.
Where most people see one game or one series as a death sentence when things don’t go well, Maddon always has the big picture in mind and tries to keep things on an even keel- which doesn’t sit well with just about anyone when things are going poorly, but works well over the long haul of a 162 game marathon. If you’re patient, that is.
Maddon also manages a loose clubhouse and is positive with all of his players. Defending and protecting them against all-comers in the media and beyond. This looseness, which promised to be more focused this season, has been one of Maddon’s specialties and is forgotten by many who watch the games and look at stats.
Maddon’s best qualities as a manager aren’t his in-game decisions, bullpen usage, or even lineup construction- they’re his ability to read his guys, give them what they need, and support them when and how they need it.
Guys like Willson Contreras and Javier Báez probably would not have blossomed in the same way under other managers, but Maddon’s love of energy and his positivity with both have allowed them to start realizing their gobs of potential. Speaking of, Maddon’s players deserve some love and are another reason why the Cubs will continue to shine in this second half.