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Cubs part ways with hitting coach Chili Davis

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Last week during his end-of-the-season wrapup, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the offense "broke" in the second half of the season and vowed to fix it. On Thursday, the Cubs took one step and dismissed hitting coach Chili Davis after one season.

Davis, 58, had joined the Cubs after stints with the Athletics in 2012-14 and Red Sox in 2015-17.

CHICAGO -- Last week during his end-of-the-season wrapup, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the offense "broke" in the second half of the season and vowed to fix it. On Thursday, the Cubs took one step and dismissed hitting coach Chili Davis after one season.

Davis, 58, had joined the Cubs after stints with the Athletics in 2012-14 and Red Sox in 2015-17.

The Cubs will make a formal announcement regarding the rest of the coaching staff at a later date.

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"Part of getting better is facing the problem and our offense broke somewhere along the lines," Epstein said last week. "If you look back at the first half of the season, we led the league in runs scored, we led the league in OPS, we led the league in virtually every significant offensive category. We were cruising.

"In the second half, things were dramatically different, culminating in what happened down the stretch and these last couple weeks."

In the first half of the season, the Cubs led the National League in runs (476) and on-base percentage (.345). That changed in the second half when they dropped to eighth in runs scored (.285) and ninth in OBP (.316).

In the second half, the Cubs scored two or more runs in 50 games and posted a 37-13 record. In the first half, they hit 100 home runs; they hit 67 in the second half.

In 39 games, the Cubs scored zero or one run, including a tiebreaker game against the Brewers on Oct. 1 and the Wild Card Game on Oct. 2.

When Davis was hired, manager Joe Maddon said the former big leaguer gives the team "the graduate school finishing touch," and the Cubs did finish the season leading the National League with a .258 batting average. While Javier Baez improved, others, such as Willson Contreras, Ian Happ and Addison Russell, struggled.

"We hit more ground balls in the second half than any other team by a huge margin," Epstein said. "Our goal is to hit line drives and fly balls out of the ballpark. We hit 49.5 ground ball rate, and the next closest team was at 47 percent.

"Something happened to our offense in the second half," Epstein said. "We stopped walking, we stopped hitting home runs, we stopped hitting the ball in the air, and we stopped being productive. Not being able to get to two runs that many times in the second half is really unacceptable."

Davis was hired to replace John Mallee, who was dismissed after the 2017 season and is now the Phillies' hitting coach.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

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