These late season wins are nice, but do they mean anything?
About as much as the hot finishes in 1995 and 2010 did
The Cubs are the hottest team in baseball. Last night’s loss to the Reds was only their second loss in the last 13 games. Clearly, this is a young, hungry, up and coming team putting the rest of baseball on notice. Right?
I have a hard time thinking the rest of baseball is crapping their double knits at the prospect of facing a team that’s giving most of their at bats down the stretch to guys like Zach McKinstry, Franmil Reyes, David Bote, Alfonso Rivas, and Esteban Quiroz. I mean, call me crazy.
This is not the first time a Cubs team has had an unlikely strong finish. We’re not talking about the 42-18 finish to the 2015 season, because that was a team that made the playoffs and did damage.
This is more akin to the 2010 Cubs who finished 24-13, which earned their interim manager the full-time job in 2011. And how’d that work out? Well, Mike Quade’s 2011 Cubs went 71-91 and Dale Sveum was managing in 2012.
How about the 1995 Cubs? They were one loss from elimination for eight straight days and refused to lose. They weren’t eliminated from the playoffs until the second to last day of the season. And then in 1996 they went 76-86. That included 14 losses in their last 16 games, and then they lost the first 14 games of the 1997 season. Yeah, they went 2-28!
Would you like to “enjoy” an oral history of the 1997 Cubs? Sure you would.
So what does this mean? That the strong finish to the 2022 season is effectively dooming the 2023 Cubs?
There have been some promising signs this season for our beloved Cubs. The vaunted pitching infrastructure has supplied some actual quality arms like Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Brandon Hughes, the return of Adbert Alzolay, the trade for Hayden Wesneski and quality veteranishness from Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly. And, they still have whatever’s left of Kyle Hendricks.
Offensively, Seiya Suzuki has adjusted to the big leagues and then adjusted to the big leagues adjustments to him and he’s put up an impressive .337/.410/.548 over his last 30 games with five homers. He just looks the part.
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