Cubs Look Focused and are no Longer Maddon-ing
today at 8:40 am
I admit I wasn’t enthusiastic about the 2020 MLB season initially, but that has changed. The Cubs and White Sox have both come out of the gate well. I can only hope that more MLB teams don’t go all Miami Marlins and force the 2020 season to shut down. If that was to happen, it would be like when Delmer, of “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” fame offered Everett some gopher. To paraphrase Everett, he said the gopher would only arouse his appetite without satisfying it. I hope MLB hasn’t just aroused fans appetite for baseball.
The Cubs currently sit at 10-2 after Wednesday night’s 6-1 win over the Royals. It seems like the Cubs came out of the gate well prepared and ready to play. Frankly, that’s a departure from the team’s last couple of seasons under former manager, Joe Maddon. Joe’s laid back approach currently has helped the Anaheim Angels get off to a 4-8 start.
A number of guys who seemed underutilized under Maddon have helped the Cubs get off to a torrid start. Ian Happ has seen more playing time under David Ross and currently has an OPS of 1.047. Tyler Chatwood has given the Cubs two excellent starts, going 2-0 with an ERA of 0.71. With all the bullpen woes the Cubs suffered during the 2019 season, it seemed like Chatwood should have gotten more opportunity.
Alec Mills has also given the Cubs two quality starts, going 2-0 with an ERA of 1.38. Mills was effective in limited action in 2019. In 36 innings he out together an ERA of 2.75 to go along with a 1-0 record and pretty good peripheral stats. I don’t believe he wasn’t a better option than what Maddon would often roll out of the pen in 2019.
Finally, there’s the matter of the closer. I didn’t think Craig Kimbrel could possibly be any worse in 2020 than he was in 2019. I was wrong. Kimbrel currently has an ERA of 32.40. He hasn’t been good for a long time now. Rowan Wick looked to be the best option the Cubs had as their closer last season. He looks like a decent option this year. If not him, Jeremy Jeffress should get a shot.
One of the most frustrating things about the Cubs in the last couple of seasons was the feeling they were were playing up to their potential. The 2019 Cubs should have won 90 games instead of 84 based on the Pythagorean method. While a lot of Cubs fans were upset about the loss of Nicholas Castellanos to free agency, the substitution of David Ross for Joe Maddon as Cubs manager has more than made up for that loss.
The improvement of the Cubs under a new manager illustrates why the last two seasons of Cubs baseball were so Maddon-ing.