This was supposed to be their year. With the best team in a decade, an all-around solid squad, the Cubs were favored to come out of the NL. And yet, they continued their 100-year tradition of coming up short. In fact, this year, the Cubs couldn’t muster a single win in the playoffs. Game 1 put the Cubs into an immediate hole, with Ryan Dempster unable to locate his fastball. In 4.2 IP, he allowed four runs and seven walks. Game 2 was another demoralizing blowout, 10-3, marked by poor fielding and four errors, which led to a combined five unearned runs. In Game 3 the Dodgers put Chicago out of its misery, the Cubs were able to produce only one run. But with a team that led the NL in wins, had one of the best rotations in baseball, and the pressure of 100 years on its back, how does such a flop happen? Underachievement. Year after year, the Cubs send quality teams to the playoffs that don’t live up to its regular season potentials. This year was just another prime example in a 100 year World Series drought. Cursed or not, these Cubs were plagued by miscues and mess-ups that led to being outscored 20-6 against the Dodgers. Dempster, a 17 win, 2.96 ERA ace, could only go 4.2 innings of four run ball. The normally strong defense fumbled the ball again and again, ultimately throwing away a crucial Game 2. And in Game 3 it was the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez that came up big in the clutch. Around baseball, critics called this Cubs team the one that would finally win it all. They had a no-nonsense, experienced manager in Lou Piniella, who could lead this team past its demons and keep them on course. They had a rotation with several aces that had been to the postseason before. And to top it off, the Cubs sported one of the best lineups in the NL. All of this meshed for 97 regular season wins, and just makes the early exit that much more disappointing. The Cubs will have to start next season without a World Series win since 1908, and now nine consecutive postseason losses. In recent years, with teams like the rival Red Sox and cross-town White Sox winning it all, the Cubs are left as the last “lovable losers” that need to finally win one. The ever-loyal fan base is getting more irritated with every promising season that ends early, and with these Cubs getting swept, they will have to start questioning the management, wondering what changes need to be made to build a club that can go all the way. After the game, Alfonso Soriano said, “We have the best team in the league, and we struggle in the playoffs.” It’s true. As the undeniable favorites to come out of the NL, the Cubs followed tradition, gaining fan support during the regular season only to crush their hopes come playoff time. At the very least, the Cubs weren’t at home to hear the boos from their own fans. Lou Piniella was quoted after the game saying, “You can play postseason baseball from now to another hundred years, but if you score six runs in three games, it’s going to be another hundred years before we win.” If the Cubs keep this up, it may very well be another hundred years before they win it all.
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