The urge to rant and rave certainly is there, and there will be time for that soon, but I don’t think it’s now. I guess there’s one train of thought that I’ve heard over the past couple days that I want to disprove, at least partially. It’s this sentiment that because the Cubs won the World Series last year, we are supposed to just let whatever happens this year just come and go with a dismissive wave. And that’s not entirely wrong. It’s not even mostly wrong. Whatever happens now, as clear as it seems, is not going to erase the memories and joy and tears of last November and all that came before it.
But still, if we were to convene here in ten years, or even five maybe (and god help me if I’m still doing this like this in five years, but that’s another discussion), and the Cubs haven’t won another World Series, or haven’t even been to one, I’m going to be disappointed. Again, it won’t dim the gloss of last year, but it would be a disappointment. So I can’t simply shrug my shoulders at the passing of a chance of another one that’s right here. And I don’t think you should either.
-Of course, the main story, whenever the final eulogy is written, is that the Cubs didn’t hit. They didn’t all all playoffs. They’ve been a weird offensive team all season, scoring in enough bursts in the second half to convince everyone that things were ok. And they were ok.
Still, about these playoffs. I’m reminded of Lou Piniella after getting swept by these Dodgers in ’08 saying something to the effect of, “The bottom line is we’ve scored 12 runs in six playoff games.” And I remember hearing that and screaming, “WELL WHY?!” And I feel the same way now. Why didn’t the Cubs hit? If the answer is Strasburg x2+Scherzer+Kershaw+Hill+Darvish+Dodgers bullpen=you’re fucked, I guess I can accept that. Except none of those things are going to go anywhere anytime soon? That’s another talk for another day, I guess.
But I’m not going to accept that the Cubs can only win when everything falls apart for the Mets (which it always will to be fair), Strasburg is hurt, and the Dodgers haven’t been able to fill in the back end of their rotation. Oh, and along with Cleveland having two-fifths of their rotation hurt as well. And obviously, things aren’t that simple.
I get it, it’s a very young lineup. Baez, Russell, Schwarber, Almora, Happ, Contreras, none of them are in what you’d call their “prime.” (Contreras maybe). Zobrist and Heyward are past theirs. So it’s probably easily exploited. And maybe that’s just what happened here. Maybe it’s not approach or scouting. And if it was, how would we know?
-And yet I can’t help but wonder about the little things. When you’re trying to drag a flawed, 92-win team through 11 wins you need just about everything to go right. Or you need an overpowering force like Madison Bumgarner. The Cubs don’t have the latter. So they needed the former.
What if Maddon had brought in Davis to face Zimmerman in Game 2 with the game still tied? Or on Sunday night which we’ve talked about? There are no guarantees of course. The Cubs very well might have lost both games anyway. But maybe they can start this series without Quintana and Lester having worked odd relief appearances. Maybe they get through more innings. Maybe the Cubs get one of those games. And maybe it’s only 2-1 down tonight, which would still feel very possible. I guess that’s how fragile it all is.
-All of tomorrow is that the Cubs go out on their shields. Make it hard. Show what they’re capable of or close. It’s not much.