Chicago Cubs: Five reasons the Cubs haven’t returned to the World Series
Chicago Cubs: Team has been bitten by the injury bug more often
Outside of Kyle Schwarber injuring his knee in early 2016 and a few very minor injuries here or there, the team had an incredible bill of health that was pretty much unsustainable. As the years have gone on, the more untimely injuries have piled up. This is really hard for the players to control and just happens via freak accidents.
2017 saw some nagging injuries with a big one being to Willson Contreras in August when he strained his hamstring running to first in a game in San Francisco. Contreras had to miss several weeks and was sitting at 21 homers and a .274/.342/.519 slash at the time. Luckily the Cubs still won the division, but it was still a tough loss.
2018 is really when the big injuries started to hit. Yu Darvish signed the big deal to replace Jake Arrieta and he only made eight starts before missing the rest of the season due to elbow problems. Kris Bryant missed 60 games in the latter months of the season and dealt with shoulder issues and also had the incident where he was hit in the head by a 96-mph fastball in Colorado that April. This was also the year Brandon Morrow their closer got hurt midseason and never played again and Pedro Strop, their overall best reliever, hurt his hamstring on the bases in September.
Go to 2019 and the injured list grew. Contreras suffered another hamstring injury in August, Javier Baez fractured his thumb in early September, Anthony Rizzo had the ugly ankle injury in mid-September, Craig Kimbrel went on the IL multiple times with elbow inflammation and Bryant rolled his ankle in late September causing him to miss the last week or so of the season. Also worth noting the non-injury related leave of absence Ben Zobrist had to take during most of the year.
Hard to sustain success when so many top players get hurt.