I will freely confess: I was wrong in doubting the Cubs, at least in so far as them making the playoffs goes. It looked like a good call at the time, but then the Giants folded up like a pup tent, and that was pretty much all she wrote for the postseason chase in the NL.
That doesn’t mean that I’m sold on them doing major damage in the playoffs. I got a good look last season at what Jon Lester is bringing to the October mound, and it doesn’t look nearly as imposing as reputation has it. I suspect that a lot of the current hype surrounding the Cubs comes from the usual suspect: ESPN has sort of adopted the Cubs as “Red Sox West”–the presence of Lester and Theo Epstein makes that a relatively smooth transition–and that makes their value in everyone’s eyes that much greater than perhaps it is.
Maybe, if Jake Arrieta goes out of his mind and wins the Wild Card game, and then carries the club–the same formula as Madison Bumgarner’s work last year–then yeah, maybe Chicago does major damage this fall. But it says here they’re likely one and done, or a division series victim at best. Too many young guys, too little pitching…and too much Cubs. They haven’t gotten themselves over their history just yet. I’m convinced that Epstein, Maddon, and company really are turning it all the way around; I just don’t think the ship is all the way around just yet.