Cubs Facing Regular Season Win Total Of 85.5 In Ross’ First Season

The Chicago Cubs’ 2019 season was a lot like their 2018 season. The main difference is that the Cubs did not play a pair of one-game playoffs. In the 2018 season, the Cubs lost a one-game National League Central Division playoff game against the Milwaukee Brewers and the very next day, the Cubs lost the National League Wild Card Game to the Colorado Rockies. In 2019, the Cubs similarly failed to make the National League Division Series, but they didn’t even make a one-game playoff. They fell short of the wild card game due to a familiar September collapse in which the bats died down the stretch, similar to the 2018 September swoon which crushed the Cubs. The Brewers and Washington Nationals played in the NL Wild Card Game, and the Nats used a win in that game to go to the World Series, which they won over the Astros.

The shortcomings led to parting of ways with manager Joe Maddon as David Ross now takes over. So what’s in store for the Cubs in 2020? They’re tied with the shortest odds to win the NL Central and they have a regular season win total of 85.5. Can they get to 86 wins or more and make a playoff push?

CHICAGO CUBS ODDS

TO WIN WORLD SERIES: +2500
TO WIN NL PENNANT: +1400
REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTAL: 85.5

OFFSEASON CHANGES

The Cubs did not make very many changes to their roster of players. They added new relief pitchers Ryan Tepera from the Toronto Blue Jays and Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers. Other than that, the Cubs didn’t do a whole lot with their players. They want to come back with their familiar collection of veterans: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, and others. The big change was made in the managerial chair, where former Cub player and 2016 World Series champion David Ross was named the replacement of former manager Joe Maddon. The Cubs are making a very clear bet that Ross will get along with all the players in the clubhouse in ways Maddon never did. A fresh culture and new attitude will be the ingredients the Cubs need in order to restore their 2016 standard of play and return to the World Series.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT…

The Cubs will make the National League Division Series. This is not one of the two best teams in the National League. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorite to win the NL pennant, and the Atlanta Braves are the second-most talented team in the league, with the Nationals – the defending champions – probably third due to their excellent starting pitching. The Cubs just need to get past the wild card round and give it a good run in the National League Division series against one of the NL’s big boys. They still have the nucleus – Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Schwarber, Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, and more – of a very good team. They need to be able to hit consistently in the latter part of a season, something they haven’t done for a few years.

IF THINGS GO WRONG…

The Cubs will miss the playoffs, just as they did a year ago. The Cubs’ offense dies way too much. It should not happen as often as it does. Last season, the Cubs were a completely different team on the road, a shell of what they were at home. This season’s team has to avoid bad road performances and improve its level of consistency. If the familiar problems of recent seasons linger, though, the Cubs won’t make the postseason again.

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