Offensive shortcomings not only affected the Chicago Cubs in 2018 – but were indicative of a league-wide downturn in production. Why the big slump?
As I’m watching the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers go after each other in the NLCS, I noticed how low-scoring the games have been. Every contest, there seems to be countless scoreless innings or just one run from both teams. I started to get déjà vu’ from our recent Cubs season. Perhaps Chicago wasn’t the only club experiencing this lull in offensive productivity? Why is it that teams are just not producing on offense?
Baseball Reference lists the holistic numbers for Major League Baseball’s batting averages and sure enough, every offensive stat is down this year. The only statistic that went up, in terms of hitting? Triples.
In 2017, the league hit average was 8.69 per game and dropped to 8.44. That’s not dramatic until you spread that number across the season and every player in the MLB. That .25 percent decrease in hits is significant. Runs decreased from 4.65 to 4.45. That slight deficit comes from all these low-scoring games that we’ve been painfully watching this season. It’s only because of five teams’ high run counts that the average isn’t showing the true tanking of offense everywhere in the MLB.
In 2017, eight MLB teams had 800+ runs for the regular season, compared to only five teams in 2018 regular season with the Dodgers just squeaking by with 804. By the way, the Cubs dropped from fourth in runs during the 2017 regular season to ninth this year, scoring only 761 runs. That’s 43 runs fewer than the Dodgers got this season. Just think what the Cubs could have done with 43 more runs this year, especially in those close games when the score vegetated at (1-1) for inning after inning.