It was far from perfect, but the Chicago Cubs found a way to win the NL Central Division for the third time in five seasons.
In what has already been a strange year in 2020, the baseball world got a taste of the madness during a shortened 60-game regular season.
There would have been many reasons to make excuses. Yet, first-year manager David Ross never let his team get too high or low, and now the Cubs (34-26) head into October as division champions with the third overall seed in the National League.
Statistically, it wasn’t pleasant for the Cubs, and that’s putting it nicely. Outside of Jason Heyward (6 HR 22 RBI .265 BA .848 OPS 50 games) and Ian Happ (12 HR 28 RBI .258 BA .866 OPS 57 games), the team could not find consistency on offense.
The players usually relied upon to carry the team posted some of the worst numbers we have ever seen in their careers:
Kris Bryant: (34 games) 4 HR 11 RBI .206 BA .644 OPS
Anthony Rizzo: (58 games) 11 HR 24 RBI .222 BA .755 OPS
Javier Baez: (59 games) 8 HR 24 RBI .202 BA .598 OPS
Willson Contreras: (57 games) 7 HR 26 RBI .243 BA .763 OPS
Kyle Schwarber: (59 games) 11 HR 24 RBI .188 BA .701 OPS
Victor Caratini: (44 games) 1 HR 16 RBI .241 BA .661 OPS
Jason Kipnis: (44 games) 3 HR 16 RBI .237 BA .745 OPS
Nico Hoerner: (48 games) 0 HR 13 RBI .222 BA .571 OPS
David Bote (45 games) 7 HR 29 RBI .200 BA .711 OPS
Call it winning-ugly or whatever you want, but as they say, a win is a win, and the Cubs found a way to get it done.
The Cubs did manage to find consistency on the mound from their starting pitchers, and eventually, their bullpen.
In his third year with the team, Yu Darvish posted a Cy Young worthy season and stepped up whenever the Cubs needed a big-start: (8-3) 2.01 ERA 76 IP 93 SO 14 BB.
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks also did his part and turned in another stellar season in a Cub uniform: (6-5) 2.88 ERA 81.1 IP 64 SO 8 BB.
A 2020-Cubs stat you probably won’t find on baseball-reference.com is perhaps the most important of this season: zero positive COVID-19 tests from an active player.
The Cubs were the only MLB team to manage this feat, and their discipline has paid off with another NL Central Division crown.
Sure this season might not have been as exciting, and our favorite players made us want to put our heads through a wall at times for their struggles, but do you know what that means in the playoffs? Absolutely nothing.
Baseball in October is a whole new season, and the superstars on this team can quickly put unforgettable performances behind them after a few playoffs wins.
It wasn’t the easiest road to the postseason, but at the end of the day, the Cubs are in, and anything can happen.