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Finally. The season is over and we can get back to essentially where we left off last year in October. You know, when the games really mattered.
So yeah, they matter again, finally. And I have to say that maybe the four days off will help Cub fans ramp it all up again. The season was essentially over like 2-plus months ago and you kind of had to "pretend" that there were big series' pending or big games happening. But there were no big series' or big games for these guys.
I mean, the biggest thing the past few months was making sure everyone remembered how great the backup catcher we've had for the last two years was.
Or should we remember how horribly weird Jon Lester is about throwing to first base that he required a personal catcher to play part time and bat .230?
Yeah, I know, I'm still a big party pooper on the farewell tour of the world's greatest teammate and backup catcher.
But seriously, this was the biggest deal in the last month of the season. Now we can forget all that nonsense and start to get properly amped up for the best regular-season Cub team in most all of our lifetimes to start the playoffs.
And the question is, how in the world can this team lose?
The pitching is there, the bullpen is in place, these guys take walks, hit for power, have a great manager, and seem very healthy. What could possibly go wrong? How could they possibly lose?
I don't know. I don't think they will. The only thing that I think could be worrisome would be the first short series, because, after that, I like the deep roster and options at Joe Maddon's disposal in a longer series.
Does this sound overconfident? Maybe, I guess. But sheesh, how much better could these guys have been in the regular season to make you any more confident? It sure seems like if any team could put this first World Series in forever away, it would be this one. I mean, why not?
And wouldn't it make the David Ross lovefest even that much better? And then the legacy would truly be complete for that guy.
Not to mention that if they never win another one after this one, you could always say that the 2017-2025 teams never had their own "Grandpa Ross" to put everyone at ease and put them over the top.
But what kind of made-for-TV movie will The David Ross Story be if he doesn't knock one out in Game 6 of the World Series to win it all?
Season in Review: The Cubs went 103-58 for the year. Let that one really sink in a bit. Throw out one bad three-week stretch and they could have won 110. But sheesh, 103 is pretty great.
Playoffs in Preview: The boys in blue wait at home and play simulated games until Friday, when they will either play the Mets or the Giants at the Friendly Confines. I can't say I have a preference. Both teams have knocked the Cubs out of the playoffs in my lifetime. So, beating either team would be fine with me. Not that the Cubs will automatically win, but they should. Maybe if the Cubs explain the David Ross situation to the other team they'll take it easy and let the Cubs win. Who has the balls to ruin the David Ross farewell tour? Who has those balls?!?
Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. The Cubs used 14 different players in the outfield in 2016. 14! And this was really without significant injuries - (Well, except Schwarber). I would expect left field to be the catch-all for the playoffs as well. Maybe Javyz Baez plays third and Kris Bryant is in left, and Baez is at second with Ben Zobrist out in left at times too. Hard to think that Joe would use 14 different guys in the regular season and not get goofy in the playoffs about it.
Former Annoying Cub of the Week: As the playoffs arrive, we here at The Cub Factor wish we didn't remember Ryan Dempster. And all that entails. Including the memory of his 2008 outing vs the Dodgers in the playoffs where he walked seven batters in 4 2/3 innings. Ugh, you are not missed.
Current Annoying Cub of the Week: Let's give it to Jake Arrieta for being a bit of a baby about how the lineup was being used the last week of the season. I'm not sure why that would matter, Jake. But I can't be too mad because he followed it up with some macho swagger.
Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe should have the boys ready to roll come Friday. The mix-and-match season has all been a setup for October - well, and a lot of regular season winning too - and every guy on the roster will be ready (and probably able) to smoothly move wherever is needed. And I like the Cubs' chances against any other manager out there - maybe Bruce Bochy is a push . . .
Kubs Kalendar: Fans attending the Cubs game on Friday will probably get rally towels. I can take or leave rally towels, but I guess you can cry in them if things go bad. So there's that.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this is the year. Or not.
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