Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis

Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports

Cubs Won't Retain Hitting Coach Chili Davis

The Cubs suffered a dramatic dip in power under Davis' watch in 2018.

October 11, 2018 - 6:48 pm
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(670 The Score) The offensive disappointment that marked the end of the Cubs' season has led to the first coaching change of the offseason.

The Cubs have informed hitting coach Chili Davis that he won't be retained after his first season in Chicago. The decision comes after the Cubs struggled mightily on offense in the second half and produced just two runs across 22 innings in the season's two biggest games -- losses in a Game 163 to decide the National League Central crown and in the NL wild-card game.

The Cubs were sixth in the NL with 4.67 runs per game in 2018, a drop-off from when they were second at 5.07 in 2017 under hitting coach John Mallee. A big reason why was because Chicago suffered a dramatic dip in power, finishing 11th in the NL in home runs with 167 after hitting 223 in 2017.

The power outage came as Davis stressed to his players to use all fields in place of a focus on launch angle, and it ended up costing the Cubs dearly. At a season-ending news conference, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had sharp words when addressing the offensive woes, including saying that launch angle isn't a fad.

"Our offense broke somewhere along the lines," Epstein said.

The Cubs came to the decision to part ways with Davis after heavily weighing feedback from players in exit interviews. That feedback was "too strong to ignore," a source told 670 The Score's Dan Bernstein, with some players believing their swings and approaches had been altered for the worse.

Holding a five-game lead in the NL Central in early September, the Cubs were eventually run down by the Brewers, mainly due to their offensive problems. Chicago's .705 OPS in the second half was 10th in the NL.

 "Part of getting better is facing the problem," Epstein said. "We felt good about our hitters one through 13 in the first half. In the second half, things were dramatically different. It culminated with what happened down the stretch and these last couple of weeks. Overall in the season, we had 40 games with zero or one run. In the second half, we only had 50 games where we scored two of or more runs. When we got two or more runs, our record was 37-13. The indicator in the second half was not where we want to be. We were near the worst in hitting the ball out of the park. Our power was dramatically down. Our walk rate was dramatically down, OPS was down. We hit more groundballs than any other team by a huge margin. Our goal is to hit line drives and fly balls out of the ballpark.

"I have never been a part of something like this offensively. I never want to be a part of this again."