Home Run hitting is vulnerable to breaking down. Combine that fact with an aging starting rotation and an inconsistent bullpen and you have a summary of the Chicago Cub’s last two seasons.
The Cubs currently have 5 batters with 20 or more home runs, and one more, Jason Heyward at 19. No Cubs hitter has a batting average of .300 or better, Anthony Rizzo is hitting .286. Even if you add Ben Zobrist to the mix, the Cubs lineup is too much the same making it easy to defend.
I understand the resistance in parting ways with the talent that got you the World Series three years ago, but I think it should be clear now that unless there are some diferent players in the lineup next year, you are going to end up with the same result.
Many will put blame on the manager, but he is not the person responsible for the roster, that lies with the front office. You clearly see a bias towards a single style of player that is good but not diverse enough, and that really doesn’t give Madden many options to change things up.
Ownership has some hard decisions to make during the off season. It’s easy to decide whether or not to spend money, it is much harder to decide whether the people running your team know how to change and if you do replace them, with whom?
I expect the Cubs to replace Madden because that is the easy choice that just about every team makes at this point. A different leadership style might spark a different emotional result, but it won’t change how teams pitch to the Cubs.
As I write this, the 2019 Chicago Cubs have not scored a run in two and half games. In September. When you need to win games to win a division and/or make the playoffs.
The Cubs currently do not have a single player hitting .300 or better. What you have is a lineup of power hitters, and as appealing while the home run is a fan favorite, relying on it is not winning baseball. This lineup is too easy to pitch against.
The Chicago Cubs have one of the best home records and one of the worst road records, and they have the best run differential in their division. People seem to be scratching their head over how the same team can be so good at home and so bad on the road. The problem is not the hitting, although they could be more consistent. To me the problem is the bullpen, they are giving up too many runs in the 6 thru 9th innings. Nobody in the pen is reliable.
Twenty years ago the bullpen wasn’t so important because starting pitchers pitched more innings and more often completed games. Now, starting pitchers are only expected to pitch six innings and that means you got have more pitching than ever before.
The Cubs overall pitching staff is not good enough. You might see an uptick in performance if they make the playoffs because the starters tend to go longer and you tend to narrow the pen down to a handful of pitchers, but I don’t expect the Cubs to get beyond be first round if they do make the playoffs.
I don’t know what specific things the Cubs need to do for next year. I don’t think the problem is with the managing or coaching, it seems to point to the talent in pitching. Lester and Hamel will be a year older and there doesn’t appear to be any replacements coming from the minors. The window on the talent the Cubs do have is getting smaller and it will be a shame if they only make it to one World Series.
subscribe via RSS