The Cubs offense was inconsistent all season, but their starting pitching kept them in games.
If we were to hand out a MVP award to anyone on the Cubs roster this season, I believe Yu Darvish should be the unanimous choice.
Darvish put together one of the best statistical seasons of his career in 2020: 12 starts (8-3) 2.01 ERA 76 IP 59 H 93 SO 14 BB.
Aside from his stats, the right-hander came up big whenever the Cubs were in desperate need of a win this season. This includes his first playoff-start since the Astros buzzed and banged their way to a game seven win with Darvish was on the mound in 2017.
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Against the Marlins in game two, Darvish allowed just two earned runs while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings pitched.
He gave the Cubs a chance to win in that game, and you can say the same about any of his starts this season. Darvish was dominant, allowing more than three runs just once, and throwing ten quality starts in his 12 games pitched.
Kyle Hendricks also put in a stellar 2020 campaign: 12 starts (6-5) 2.88 ERA 81.1 IP 73 H 84 SO 8 BB.
The Professor began the season as the Cub’s ace and didn’t disappoint, tossing a three-hit shutout on opening night.
Aside from a few rough starts against the Reds, Hendricks dominated the rest of his opponents. The right-hander allowed more than three earned runs, just twice, and threw nine quality starts.
Both Hendricks (30) and Darvish (34) are signed through the 2024 season. As we know good pitchers don’t grow on trees, so the duo should be the cornerstones of the rotation moving forward.
Future of the Rotation
With the likely departures of Jon Lester and Jose Quintana, the Cubs will likely turn to Adbert Alzolay or Alec Mills to step up in the rotation.
Alzolay pitched a small sample size of the season, but showed promise on the mound: (1-1) 2.95 ERA 21.1 IP 12 H 29 SO 13 BB.
Mills came into this shortened season having made six career starts and took on the challenge of being an option in the back-end of the rotation: (5-5) 4.48 ERA 62.1 IP 53 H 46 SO 19 BB.
While he wasn’t dominant all season, aside from his no-hitter against the Brewers, he has the kind of stuff that can keep the Cubs in ballgames and give their offense a chance.
Combine these four pitchers with a power-arm like Trevor Bauer, and the Cubs could have one of the best rotations in baseball next season.