They Died As They Lived

The Cubs season ended they way it began, with “the best free agent on the market” making an out.

At least this year, the Cubs ended their post-season quickly and in a whole unsurprising manner. There was no ball randomly dribbling between someone legs or some bizarre fan interference that ruins some poor kids life. No, this year, how the Cubs lost in a three game sweep to the Diamondbacks because of the same issues they have dealt with all season - inconsistent pitching and the inability to get “clutch” hits with runners in scoring position. You only have to look as far back as last week to have seen this coming. The Cubs were swept by the Marlins this season, and were outscored 17-40 by a 71-91 team.

The only true surprise came from Zambrano and Lilly, as they seemed to completely switch roles. If I had told you that one starter would give up only 4 hits and 1 run with 1BB/8K over 6 innings while the other would only go 3 1/3 with 7 hits, 6 runs, and 4BB/4K AND came a bit unglued on the mound after giving up a 3 run homer, you would have guessed wrong about which line ultimately belonged to which pitcher. I have to imagine that this played into Pinella’s thinking too when he pulled Carlos despite the fact that he was having one of his most effective starts of the season. At least Big Z will now be completely rested for his first start in spring training.

Arizona won the series because they came in loose and energetic compared to the Cubs who seemed to be tight and lacking and confidence, both in themselves and in each other. Soriano, Lee, and Ramirez went a combined 6-38. The Cubs as a whole batted .194/.307/.255 with one home run from the PCL player of the year who rode the bench for the final game of the season.

So right now, the Cubs are cleaning out their lockers and heading home. They won division title so the organization can prop another flag up on the awning, but I doubt that will be little consolation to anyone. Also, it is impossible to really start speculating what the team will be like next year thanks to the pending ownership drama that will beset us for the next few months. It’s probably safe to bet that Floyd, Kenndal, and sadly even Wood will not return next season. Outside of that, who the hell knows what is going to happen.

Was this a disappointing season? I don’t know that I would say so. It was a disappointing end, to be sure, but these Cubs created a great turnaround about a third of the way through, shaking off the pathetic ending of the Dusty Baker era as Lou dragged them into first place through kicked-up clouds of dirt. There is no question that this team finished where they did thanks to it’s manager and his belief his players. Will the Cubs be a better team next year? I’d like to think that they will but until a new owner is crowned by Pope Selig, we really have no way of knowing what the hell is going to happen. At least we’ll all have something to talk about.

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