The 2015 Chicago Cubs season was the 144th season for the franchise, the 140th in the National League and the 100th at Wrigley Field. They began the season on April 5, 2015 in a first-ever night game home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at partially renovated Wrigley Field, and finished on October 4, 2015 on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs finished the season with the third-best record in baseball (97–65) which was also the third-best in their division, finishing one game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates (98–64) and three games behind the division winner, the rival St. Louis Cardinals (100–62). As a result, they qualified for the second wild card spot for the 2015 postseason and defeated the Pirates in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game and faced the Cardinals in the Division Series. The Cubs defeated St. Louis in four games and advanced to play the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series. It was the Cubs' first appearance in the NLCS since 2003. However, they were swept in four games and were unable to make it to their first World Series since 1945, which they would do the next season.
In 2015, Forbes valued the Cubs at $1.8 billion, ranking them 17th out of all sports franchises in the world, and the fifth highest in all MLB. The Cubs attendance for the regular season was 2,959,812, up over 300,000 from the previous year.
|2015 Chicago Cubs|
|National League Wild Card|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Jed Hoyer|
CSN Chicago Plus
(Len Kasper, Jim Deshaies)
|Local radio||WBBM (AM)|
Chicago Cubs Radio Network
(Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer, Mark Grote, Len Kasper)
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On Monday, September 29, one day after the conclusion of the 2014 season, a $575 million four-year renovation project to Wrigley Field was begun. The bleachers in left and right field were expanded, the stadium was extended further onto both Waveland and Sheffield Avenues, and seven new outfield signs were installed along with a 5,700-square-foot jumbotron scoreboard in the left field bleachers and a 2,400 square foot video scoreboard in the right field bleachers. The parking lots along Clark Street were excavated for underground players' locker rooms and lounges.
The Cubs decided not to retain Mike Brumley as the assistant hitting coach. Bill Mueller, the hitting coach, resigned over the decision. On October 9. 2014 John Mallee, formerly the Astros hitting coach, was hired as his replacement. Eric Hinske was the assistant hitting coach and Doug Dascenzo was signed to replace him as first base/outfield coach. In late October 2014, quality assurance coach Jose Castro resigned to work with Atlanta Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
On October 31, the Cubs fired first year manager Rick Renteria. On Monday, November 3, The Cubs announced the signing of Joe Maddon to a five-year contract as manager of the team. Former Cub Henry Blanco was hired to be the quality assurance coach on November 22. At the start of the 2015 season, Brandon Hyde went from 2014 season bench coach to first base and Doug Dascenzo was the outfield coach. Dave Martinez was bench coach. On February 24, 2015, Manny Ramirez was hired as a batting consultant, splitting time between Chicago and AAA Iowa. Also, Kevin Youkilis was given a part-time job as a scouting and player development consultant.
In June 2014, the Cubs announced an end to their radio play-by-play history on WGN (720-AM) radio which dated back to 1924. In a new partnership with CBS Radio, the radio broadcast of their games moved to WBBM (780-AM) for the 2015 season.
The Cubs finalized a new television broadcast agreement with long-time over-the-air carrier WGN-TV (Channel 9), in which the station would carry a reduced slate of 45 games per season. The team also signed a new broadcast agreement with ABC-owned station WLS-TV (Channel 7), in which they will show 25 games annually; this deal replaced WCIU-TV as the Cubs' secondary over-the-air television outlet. Both agreements with WLS and WGN run through the end of the 2019 season. Play-by-play announcer Len Kasper and color commentator Jim Deshaies became employees of the Cubs rather than WGN-TV.
As a result of a new programming strategy implemented by Tribune Media for WGN America, the cable superstation ceased televising Cubs games (as well as that of the Chicago White Sox and Bulls) to a national audience as of January 2015. This marksed the end of a 36-season run of Cubs games televised on the national version of WGN-TV.
The Cubs created affiliate stations to complement the 2015 television and radio schedule.
|Opening Day Starters|
|Tommy La Stella||2B|
|St. Louis Cardinals||100||62||0.617||—||55–26||45–36|
|St. Louis Cardinals||100||62||0.617|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||92||70||0.568|
|New York Mets||90||72||0.556|
|Wild Card teams
(Top 2 qualify for 1-game playoff)
|San Francisco Giants||84||78||0.519||13|
|San Diego Padres||74||88||0.457||23|
2015 National League Records
Source: NL Standings Head-to-Head
At the conclusion of the first month of the season the Cubs had a record of 12–8. It was their first winning April since the 2008 season. They led the National League in stolen bases with 25, were third in on-base percentage with .329, and sixth in acquiring walks with 71. The pitching staff allowed the fewest walks in the National League with 41, they were third in WHIP with 1.15, fifth in striking out opposing batters with 181, sixth in opposing players batting average with .240, sixth in earned run average with 3.71 and allowed only 14 home runs against them. During the month, the Cubs played in three extra-inning ballgames, winning all three.
At the end of the first two months of the season the Cubs had a record of 26–22. It was the first winning two-month period since the end of the 2008 season. They were third in the National League in stolen bases with 46 and second at receiving walks at 192. They did, however, lead the league in striking out at 541. The pitching staff allowed the second fewest walks in the National League with 140, they were third in WHIP, third in striking out opposing batters, sixth in opposing players batting average with .246, fifth in earned run average with 3.72, and allowed 56 home runs against them.
|2015 Chicago Cubs|
|2015 Postseason game log: 4–5 (Home: 2–2; Away:2–3)|
National League Division Series: 3–1 (Home: 2–0; Away: 1–1)
National League Championship Series: 0–4 (Home: 0–2; Away: 0–2)
|Legend: = Win = Loss = Postponement|
Bold = Cubs team member
|WP: Jake Arrieta (1–0) LP: Gerrit Cole (0–1)|
CHI: Dexter Fowler (1), Kyle Schwarber (1)
Jake Arrieta pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 11 batters and allowing only four hits to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4–0 in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game. The Cubs were paced offensively by Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber, who combined for five hits in seven at bats, each with a home run. For the first time in 12 years, the Cubs won a postseason game after losing their previous nine postseason games in a row and advanced to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series.
|WP: John Lackey (1–0) LP: Jon Lester (0–1)|
STL: Tommy Pham (1), Stephen Piscotty (1)
John Lackey allowed only three singles in seven innings and the Cardinals beat the Cubs 4–0 in the NLDS opening game. Rookies Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty each homered for the Cardinals. Cubs starter, Jon Lester, gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings and left the game trailing 2–0.
|WP: Kyle Hendricks (1–0) LP: Jaime García (baseball) (0–1) Sv: Héctor Rondón (1)|
CHI: Jorge Soler (1)
STL: Matt Carpenter (1), Kolten Wong (1), Randal Grichuk (1)
In their first divisional game win since 2003, the Cubs got five second inning runs including a two-run home run from Jorge Soler en route to a 6–3 win. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks pitched well, but allowed a home run to the leadoff batter, third baseman Matt Carpenter in the first, and back-to-back solo shots to Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk in the fifth inning which led to his exit. Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill and Héctor Rondón worked 4 1/2 innings of relief.
|WP: Jake Arrieta (2–0) LP: Michael Wacha (0–1)|
STL: Jason Heyward (1), Stephen Piscotty (2)
CHI: Kyle Schwarber 2 (2), Kris Bryant (1), Anthony Rizzo (1), Jorge Soler (2), Dexter Fowler (1)
The Cubs got 13 hits to support Jake Arrieta who struck out nine Cardinals over 5-2/3 innings while giving up four runs, the most he had allowed since June 16. Four rookies started for the Cubs and three of them helped to set a Major League playoff team record with six home runs in an 8–6 victory. Six different Cubs players homered – Kyle Schwarber in the second inning, Starlin Castro in the fourth, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo back-to-back in the fifth, Jorge Soler in the sixth, and Dexter Fowler in the eighth inning. Jason Heyward hit a sixth inning homer off Arrieta and Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run ninth inning homer off Héctor Rondón for the Cardinals. The eight total home runs for both teams set a Major League mark for one postseason game. Shortstop Addison Russell left the game in the fourth with left hamstring tightness after sliding head first into third on a triple. Russell would not play the remainder of the postseason.
|WP: Trevor Cahill (1–0) LP: Kevin Siegrist (0–1) Sv: Héctor Rondón (2)|
STL: Stephen Piscotty (3)
CHI: Kyle Schwarber (3), Anthony Rizzo (2), Javier Báez (2), Dexter Fowler (1)
Eight Chicago Cub pitchers allowed eight hits and combined for 15 strikeouts to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals and win a postseason series for the first time ever at Wrigley Field. The score was 2–0 in favor of the Cardinals when the second batter of the game, Stephen Piscotty, hit a two-run homer. In the bottom of the second inning, starting pitcher Jason Hammel drove in Starlin Castro with a sharp single to center and Addison Russell's replacement at shortstop, Javier Báez, followed with a three-run homer to right off Cardinals starter, John Lackey. The Cards rallied and tied the score in the top of the sixth, but the rally ended with a strong throw to catcher Miguel Montero from right fielder Jorge Soler to throw out Tony Cruz at the plate as Cruz attempted to score the lead run from second. Anthony Rizzo hit a go-ahead solo homer off Cardinal reliever Kevin Siegrist in the bottom of the inning on a two out, 0-2 pitch. Kyle Schwarber added an insurance run in the seventh inning, also off Siegrist, with a home run ball that landed on top of the new right field Budweiser scoreboard. Pedro Strop in the eighth and Héctor Rondón in the ninth struck out four of the seven batters they faced to preserve the 6–4 victory.
|WP: Matt Harvey (2–0) LP: Jon Lester (0–2) Sv: Jeurys Familia (3)|
CHI: Kyle Schwarber (4)
NY: Daniel Murphy (4), Travis D'Arnaud (2)
In game one versus the New York Mets, Cubs starting pitcher, Jon Lester, gave up a solo home run in the first inning to Daniel Murphy. Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch and Starlin Castro hit a double to center field that scored Rizzo from first to tie the game in the fifth. A base hit to left by Javier Báez sent Castro to the plate, but he was thrown out on a strong throw by Yoenis Céspedes. In the bottom of the fifth, Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares both hit one-out singles. Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey attempted a sacrifice bunt, but the Cubs got a force-out of Flores at third. The next batter, Curtis Granderson, hit a single to score Lagares and the Mets regained the lead. Travis d'Arnaud hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. In the seventh, Lagares hit a leadoff single, was sacrificed by Harvey to second, stole third, and Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4–1. In the top of the eighth, Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run for a final score of 4–2.
|WP: Noah Syndergaard (1–1) LP: Jake Arrieta (2–1) Sv: Jeurys Familia (4)|
NY: Daniel Murphy (5)
The Cubs never recovered from a first-inning single by Mets leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson, followed by an RBI double by David Wright and by a home run by Daniel Murphy. Ganderson scored again in the third inning on a single by Yoenis Céspedes and the Mets were ahead 4–0. The Cubs only run came in the sixth inning on a single by Dexter Fowler who advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a two out double by Kris Bryant. The Cubs lost 4–1 and fell two games behind in the series.
|WP: Jacob deGrom (3–0) LP: Trevor Cahill (1–1) Sv: Jeurys Familia (5)|
NY: Daniel Murphy (6)
CHI: Kyle Schwarber (5), Jorge Soler (3)
For the third game in the series, the Mets scored in the first with a double by Yoenis Céspedes that drove in David Wright off of Cubs starter, Kyle Hendricks. A home run by Kyle Schwarber tied the game in the bottom of the first. In the third, the Mets responded with Daniel Murphy's solo homer, his fifth consecutive postseason game with a home run, to put the Mets up 2–1. Jorge Soler's homer in the fourth again tied the game. The bottom fell out for the Cubs in the sixth when a wild pitch by Trevor Cahill (the losing pitcher) on strike three allowed Yoenis Céspedes to score, putting the Mets up 3–2. A Céspedes single and a sacrifice grounder by Lucas Duda in the seventh drove in Wright and Murphy, for a final score of 5–2 and series deficit of 3–0 for the Cubs.
|WP: Bartolo Colón (1–0) LP: Jason Hammel (0–1)|
NY: Lucas Duda (1), Travis d'Arnaud (3), Daniel Murphy (7)
CHI: Kris Bryant (2)
As in every previous game of the series, the Mets took control of the game in the first inning when first baseman Lucas Duda hit a three-run home run to center field against Cubs starter Jason Hammel. The next batter, catcher Travis d'Arnaud, also hit a home run to make it 4–0. In the second inning, Cubs relief pitcher Travis Wood allowed a two-run double to Duda making it a 6–0 game. Duda's five RBIs tied a Mets record for most in a postseason game. Chicago's first rally came in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs for second baseman Starlin Castro. Mets third baseman David Wright made a leaping grab of Castro's line drive to prevent an extra base hit and two runs. However, the Cubs got their first run on an RBI groundout by left fielder Kyle Schwarber. Shortstop Javier Báez popped out in foul territory, stranding two runners and the Cubs were down 6–1. In the fifth inning, after outfielders Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler reached base, Mets reliever Bartolo Colón struck out third baseman Kris Bryant and the Cubs again stranded two baserunners. In the eighth inning, New York's Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer, his fourth home run of the series, his seventh of the postseason, and his sixth consecutive game with a home run, a new MLB postseason record. Bryant hit a consolation two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to put the Mets lead to 8–3. When closer Jeurys Familia struck out Fowler in the ninth, the Mets were back in the World Series for the first time since 2000. The Cubs never had a lead at any point in the four game series. After hitting .529 with the four home runs and a 1.294 slugging percentage for the series, New York's Daniel Murphy was named series MVP.
(Final regular season stats)
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; BB = Walks; SO = Strikeouts; SB = Stolen bases; Avg. = Batting average
|Tommy La Stella||33||67||4||18||6||0||1||11||.269||2|
(Final regular season stats)
Note: W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games started; SV = Saves; IP = Innings pitched; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; BB = Walks allowed; K = Strikeouts
|Carl Edwards, Jr.||0||0||3.86||5||0||0||4.2||3||3||2||3||4|
|AAA||Iowa Cubs||Pacific Coast League||Marty Pevey|
|AA||Tennessee Smokies||Southern League||Buddy Bailey|
|A||Myrtle Beach Pelicans||Carolina League||Mark Johnson|
|A||South Bend Cubs||Midwest League||Jimmy Gonzalez|
|A-Short Season||Eugene Emeralds||Northwest League||Pat Murphy|
|Rookie||AZL Cubs||Arizona League||Ricardo Medina|
|Rookie||VSL Cubs||Venezuelan Summer League||Pedro Gonzalez|
|Rookie||DSL Cubs||Dominican Summer League||Juan Cabreja|
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Myrtle Beach
In the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II, the 2015 Chicago Cubs win the World Series.
|2015 Game Log (97–65)|
April: 12–8 (Home: 6–5; Away: 6–3)
May: 14–14 (Home: 9–6; Away: 5–8)
June: 14–13 (Home: 5–4; Away: 9–9)
July: 15–12 (Home: 7–9; Away: 8–3)
August: 19–9 (Home: 12–3; Away: 7–6)
September: 19–9 (Home: 10–5; Away: 9–4)
October: 4–0 (Home: 0–0; Away: 4–0)
|Legend: = Win = Loss = Postponement|
Bold = Cubs team member
Part of the 2015 Major League Baseball season
|American League teams|
|National League teams|
2015 MLB season by team