The Cubs did clinch the NL Central during their loss to the White Sox on Saturday, and decided to switch to “whatever” mode shortly after, earning the right to chill and wait for their eventual first round opponent. It’s a testament to the patience, attitude, and resilience of the team and its coaching staff that they not only clinched the division with a nice cushion, they also did it while staying safe and healthy:
The postseason picture could have gotten super complicated, but it seems that the Cubs will end up playing the Marlins in the first round as the 3-6 matchup, while the Cardinals locked themselves into the #5 seed. This means the Cubs will avoid their NL Central foes in the first round, and I’m not entirely sure if that’s good or bad, but I also do know I want nothing to do with that Reds rotation, and the Marlins might be more imminently beatable, so let’s go with that. Amazingly, the postseason scheme allowed four NL Central teams into the playoffs, except for the Pirates because they suck.
It was fun to watch Adbert Alzolay twirl his slider/curveball/whatever that was over five innings to put himself in line for the pitcher win.
Also very nice to see Kris Bryant find some power before the playoffs!
I’m sure David Ross wants to keep Jon Lester as the #3 starter for his playoff experience, but it is nice to know that Alzolay and a seemingly serviceable Jose Quintana are available to piggyback if necessary. It may be nice to get him off the roster after this season and see what they can explore from the in-house options or on the open market, but the mid-90s stuff in relief could be very useful this postseason. Plus we got to see a pretty nifty, albeit shaky, debut:
Oh, and if Billy Hamilton can hit home runs every now and then? That’s just gravy (but he won’t haha).
As said before, even though the first round of three is going to be chaos and anything can happen, the fact that the Cubs overcame their inconsistencies and offensive derpiness to win the division is an accomplishment in any universe. There is a trophy at the end of all this, and hopefully the Cubs get a chance to play for it at the end of October. In the meantime, they will prepare for their revenge series against the Marlins after slogging through 60 games that we didn’t even know we would get at one point. That is a blessing, and anything else at this point is a bonus. May fortune smile upon the Cubs.