Virtual Cubs wrap up season simulation with a win over Reds
With baseball’s return just around the horizon, we wrapped up our 2020 season simulation on MLB The Show on Thursday, with the Cubs completing a three-game sweep over the Reds with a 6-2 win.
Javy Báez finished 3-for-5 with 3 RBI and a double for the Cubs. Jason Kipnis added a solo home run. On the mound, Kyle Hendricks was stellar. He pitched 8.2 innings of shutout baseball before a 2-run home run to Eugenio Suárez ended his day. Brad Wieck struck out Jesse Winker to close out the win for the Cubs. The virtual Cubs handed Reds ace Luis Castillo his first loss of the year, as he allowed 6 runs on 5 hits in 4 innings of work.
At exactly the half point of a traditional, 162-game season, the Cubs sat at 46-35, one game behind the Reds in the NL Central race. The Cubs sat one-and-a-half games back of the Phillies for the final Wild Card spot in the National League.
Offensively, the virtual Cubs were led by Kyle Schwarber, who had a .256/.344/.552 slash line with a team-high 22 home runs and 54 RBIs. Anthony Rizzo, hitting primarily in the second spot in the lineup throughout the virtual season, had an .893 OPS with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs. Willson Contreras was second on the team with 19 home runs, adding 51 RBI and a .795 OPS. The Cubs were fourth in the majors with 129 team home runs.
Báez led the team with 12 stolen bases, adding 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and an .803 OPS as he pushed for a 30-30 season. Kris Bryant posted a .253/.322/.438 slash line with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in the leadoff spot. Kipnis, who platooned at second base with David Bote, had 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and a .924 OPS in 180 at-bats.
On the mound, José Quintana emerged as an ace for the virtual Cubs, going 7-3 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 100.2 innings of work. Quintana led the Cubs with 97 strikeouts. Jon Lester, meanwhile, showed no signs of slowing down in his age-36 season, going 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 98 innings of work. Tyler Chatwood (4.06) was the only Cubs starter with an ERA over 4.00. The Cubs ranked 6th in baseball with a 3.48 team ERA.
Craig Kimbrel anchored the Cubs bullpen and performed like the closer the Cubs signed in 2019. He notched 20 saves in 22 opportunities, pitching to a 2.13 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. Alec Mills led the Cubs pitchers in wins, going 8-0 with a save in 48 innings of work out of the bullpen. Dan Winkler led the Cubs with 13 holds, pitching to a 1.08 WHIP in 24 innings of work. Rowan Wick (1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) and Wieck (2.37 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) also shined as bullpen arms for the virtual Cubs.
At Triple-A Iowa, Nico Hoerner hit .251/.301/.385 with 5 home runs, 18 RBI and 11 steals in 64 games.