The Cubs play a winner-take-all NLDS Game 5 against the Nationals Thursday night to cap a tense, hard-fought series that is likely to come to a dramatic end. There are surely differing opinions, but I’m here to say that the 2017 season is a success even if the Cubs don’t make their third straight trip to the NLCS.
After a tough start to the season, the Cubs rallied from a 5.5 game deficit at the All-Star break to win their division by 6 games. It was the first time Chicago had made the playoffs three consecutive seasons since 1906-08 and they’re the first defending champion to win their division the following since the 2009 Phillies.
This is also the third consecutive 90-win season for the franchise. The last time that happened (1928-30), Hack Willson was hitting cleanup. This is really heady stuff for the current iteration of the Cubs, or just about any iteration, for that matter.
The playoffs are a total crapshoot, they always have been. Arguably the best of those three Chicago World Series teams of the early 20th century was the 1906 team that won 116 games. They were huge favorites against a White Sox team with an offense so anemic they earned the nickname the “Hitless Wonders.” As you may already be aware, the Cubs lost that series in six games.
The Northsiders are the underdogs in their current series against a loaded Nationals team. By no means am I saying they can’t win this series, they have a very good shot at it. Just don’t think of this season as a failure if they don’t win this last game. To overcome all the hurdles and pitfalls of being the defending champs to once again reach the playoffs as they have is no small feat.
Having said all that, I want to see the Cubs go out there and dominate the Nationals by showing them what champions are made of. Then bring on those Dodgers again.