Yes, I’m saddened that the Chicago Cubs season ended with a thud on Thursday night, but now that there’s a title in the bag, the ending feels different.
For one, their opponent was the Los Angeles Dodgers. The question entering the postseason was whether the 91-39 Dodgers of the first 130 games or the 13-19 Bums of the final month would show up. Ask any Diamondbacks fan to confirm, it’s the former. .The Dodgers have now won seven of eight playoff games.
For another, the Cubs are still very much a work in progress.
Consider the data.
Albert Almora Jr. 1.0 WAR
Addison Russell 2.0 WAR
Javier Baez 2.9 WAR
Kyle Schwarber 0 WAR (but 30 HR)
Carl Edwards Jr. 1.5 WAR
Willson Contreras 3.9 WAR
Kris Bryant 6.1 WAR
And oh yeah, Age 22, Ian Happ 1.8 WAR
Other key performers like Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Hendricks, and Jason Heyward are all younger than 29.
All the position players appeared in 115 games or more. Edwards, the principal set up man appeared in 73 games and Hendricks made 24 starts.
For another this is a season where lots of things went wrong. Russell and Schwarber didn’t hit til August. Baez struggled in the first half too. Every pitcher in the rotation both struggled and spent time on the DL. The team never really settled on a fifth starter until the Quintana trade in July.
And yet 92-70. 49-25 after the break.
They just ran into a buzzsaw
Wait til next year isn’t defiant optimism anymore; it’s a logical projection.