The Chicago Cubs’ Theo Epstein didn’t ‘blow it up,’ and that’s a good thing. The Cubs are 26-20, fourth-best in the National League.
The Chicago Cubs are very lucky they didn’t blow it up after last season. The 26-20 record is nothing to scoff at. Heck, it’s fourth-best in the NL, and they lead the St. Louis Cardinals by three games. Still, what they would have missed in a COVID-19 season–a 60 game sprint with everyone on edge because of the coronavirus. To be honest, I like this ‘change,’ Not players getting the coronavirus, but you know what I mean.
Epstein was frustrated with the 2018 team. They let a five-game lead slip away, then lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in a one-game playoff and a 13-inning NL Wild Card Game to the Colorado Rockies. And then, in 2019, they missed the playoffs. Joe Maddon was on the block (he was let go shortly after.) David Ross was the man for the job. The coronavirus shortened the season to 60-games. It’s been a strange 2020–it really has.
He had Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez for two more years. The choice was going to be made–disassemble, or leave the championship window open? He chose the latter, and it was a smart move–even with the Cubs trio hitting .208, .203 and .196, respectively.
Ian Happ is probably a top-five finisher in the MVP voting with a slash of .276/.386/.583 with an OPS of .969 with 12 home runs and 26 RBI. But it’s the Cubs pitching that’s doing well. I know, right? The bullpen has a 1.91 this month, lowest in the Majors. A big part of that is Jeremy Jeffress. He’s got a 0.98 ERA and seven saves in 17 games (18 1/3 innings).
The rotation is solid. Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester have been significant for the Cubs. Alec Mills has been consistent. The fifth spot has been an issue with Adbert Alzolay showing up with two good and two bad. What’s this start going to be?
But remember this. The Cubs are the only team without a player to get COVID-19. Tommy Hottovy and Mike Napoli were the coaches to get it–but no players. I hope that keeps up for now.