The Cubs jumped out of the gates and established themselves as contenders after getting off to their best start in 50 seasons.
15 Games: (12-3) 1st place NL Central
The first 15 games of the season for the Cubs were tremendous, but little did we know it would be arguably their best stretch of baseball all season.
Kyle Hendricks set the tone on opening night, tossing a three-hit shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers: 9 IP 3 H 0 ER 9 SO 0 BB.
The rest of the rotation followed The Professor, as Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills both established themselves as important pieces to the back-end of the rotation. The duo each won their first two starts of the season in the absence of Jose Quintana, who was placed on the 10-day IL.
Aside from Kris Bryant batting in the leadoff spot, the offense was firing on all cylinders and was among MLB’s best in team OPS.
If there was a chink in the Cubs armor, it was their bullpen.
Where do the Cubs rank?
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A big topic of discussion in the offseason for the lack of additions, the ‘pen struggled to find themselves in the early part of the season and held the worst ERA among all bullpens in MLB.
The struggles of Craig Kimbrel from last season carried over into his early 2020 campaign. After a few rough outings against the Reds and Pirates (1 1/3 IP 4 ER 2 H 4 BB 0 SO), fans were angry and even demanded the trade or release of Kimbrel.
Newly acquired veteran Jeremy Jeffress and Rowan Wick quickly took over the late-innings, and other members of the bullpen were left to figure out their roles as the season progressed.
At this point, I was getting set to make my debut as a contributor for Cubbies Crib, and I remember thinking the Cubs would cruise through a 60-game season with no problems.
Aside from the bullpen that I figured would work itself out or Theo would get help, I believed no team could slow down the Cubs.
Boy, was I wrong.