Bright Future Ahead For The Chicago Cubs Despite NLCS Loss

Do not feel sorry for the Chicago Cubs. There is a bright future ahead for the Cubs despite getting swept by the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series. The 8-3 loss finished the Cubs for now, but they will be back.

Sure, losing does sting, especially when a World Series was in their grasp. Losing while being so close is disheartening. Cubs fans may not want to hear this, but as some of the lyrics of Kendrick Lamar’s latest hit song go, the Cubs are “gonna be alright!” It was no coincidence that Lamar’s “Alright” was in the regular rotation at the Cubs’ Wrigley Field.

There were moments of irony throughout the Cubs and Mets NLCS.

The Cubs have not won the World Series in 107 years and counting. When Las Vegas oddsmakers installed the Cubs as the favorites to win it all, what they based everything on was the offensive firepower that their lineup possess. Dominant pitching by Jake Arrieta also played a role. Not to mention that the Cubs seemed to dispatch of the St. Louis Cardinals with ease during the divisional round.

Even in the movie Back to the Future Part II there was a prediction that the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. That prediction made national news on the 26th anniversary (courtesy of People) of the movie’s claim. It was interesting knowing that the Cubs were facing an elimination game on what CNN and other outlets recognize as Back to the Future Day.

What this had done was give fans and pundits the belief that the dreaded “Billy Goat Curse” was soon to be over.

Everything that the Chicago Cubs were billed as being never materialized versus the Mets in the NLCS. The series was, just as it goes most of the time in the MLB playoffs, great pitching trumps great hitting.

The starting pitcher quadruplet of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz proved to be too much for the talented Cubs batters. Each member of the New York Mets’ equivalent to a boy band took their turns to stifle an offense that gave everyone who was rooting for the Cubs some hope. Let’s not forget about Daniel Murphy and his home runs either.

New York Mets’ pitching held the Cubs to eight runs and an NLCS record-low for a batting average of .164.

Despite everything, the future is bright for the Cubs. This year was not their year. Instead of feeling cursed, fans of the Cubs should feel optimistic about their chances in the years to come. They were defeated by a team that was firing on all cylinders.

The Cubs committed a bunch of miscues during the NLCS. Inexperience is the reason for the problems they had. Unlike in the past, where a fluky play, i.e. Steve Bartman’s catch of a foul ball back in 2003 would set them back, leaving them shell-shocked, unable to get the play out of their system. There was also the collapse in 1969 versus the Mets, ironically.

A different Chicago Cubs team was in the NLCS this time out. There are three reasons to believe that this is not the last time fans will see the Cubs on center stage.

The Cubs’ lineup, albeit in need of some realigning, is stacked.

[Photo by Elsa/Getty Images Sport]

Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler, and Addison Russell, whom the Cubs could have sorely used in the NLCS, are the future. They are members of a young core of Cubs’ players who are under the age of 25. Only one of them, that being Russell, is playing in their natural position. Bryant, a third baseman in college, is probably better suited at center field. Schwarber played in left field for the Cubs in the NLCS. He is a catcher, and it showed during the NLCS where he misplayed a few balls in the outfield. In the case of Soler, his best position is also center field, but he rotates from spot to spot.

Making the MLB playoffs with so many square pegs fitting into round holes is an amazing feat worth celebrating. Had they won the World Series, the city of Chicago, save for the area where the Chicago White Sox play would probably have been burned down in celebration of a Cubs’ World Series win.

The Cubs have two centerpieces in place with Anthony Rizzo at first base and Starlin Castro at second. Castro, along with shortstop Javier Baez may become trade bait for pitching help in the offseason.

Cubs’ manager Joe Madden getting the team to the postseason one year earlier than they were scheduled to be is promising. That means if everything goes as expected, a Cubs’ appearance in the World Series may come sooner than everyone assumed.

There is no reason for a Cubs fan to hold his or her head down. This season was a success.

There will be those who will say that if a team does not win the championship, then the season is a failure. Not true. Each team has a different set of goals and expectations. The Cubs were expected to contend for a playoff berth, not flirt with a spot in the World Series. They ahead of schedule this year. With the upside of their lineup, plus an influx of cash that came in after four home playoff games gives the Cubs a larger amount of funds which can help them lure one or two pitchers.

What cost the Cubs a World Series berth was the lack situational hitting and depth in the pitching rotation. Situational hitting will come due to the experience of playing in the postseason. Pitching will cost either some money, good prospects or both. This is the first time that Cubs fans can honestly say that the team has plenty of assets in order to get what is needed for a World Series run.

Yesterday was not a dark day for the Chicago Cubs as many people may want to believe. Youth was on display throughout the NLCS. As is the case in most sports, a team most learn the sting of losing before they can experience winning. The Cubs losing in the NLCS is the start of things going down the right path. A plan is in place and the Cubs are a year or two ahead of schedule. Instead of feeling down and depressed, fans should feel proud of their team.

This is only the beginning of a sustained culture of winning on the north side of Chicago. The future is bright for the Chicago Cubs, despite losing in the NLCS.

[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images Sport]