10/2 Learning experience
If the Cubs sweep the Diamondbacks this weekend, they will finish with the same number of wins they had in 2007 when they won the NL Central in Lou Piniella’s first season in Chicago. But that year, their postseason play ended quickly as Arizona swept the Cubs in the NLDS. In 2008, the Cubs won 97 games, but were eliminated in three games again.
This year, the Cubs will finish with a winning record, but ask them, and it’s not a winning season unless you get to the playoffs. What can the players learn from this?
“The positives are that you remember the good times from last year and you remember how much of a struggle this year has been and you want to get yourself back to [the postseason],” Piniella said. “That means for some of these guys working hard over the winter, and for all these guys thinking about what they need to do for next year to get back to where we were.
“This year here, it was a struggle for us,” Piniella said. “To these guys’ credit in the clubhouse, we’ve been able to hold it together and keep it respectable. It could’ve gotten away. You look at the list of players I have here on my desk and the amount of time they’ve missed [because of injuries], If somebody would’ve told [the media] this, and especially myself and my staff, you’d have shuddered a little bit. You’re talking about 40 percent of our roster, and for all of them, key people, and at the same time, all for at least a month apiece. It’s been difficult.
“We’re going to finish the season respectable,” he said. “We’ll finish in second palce in our division and over .500. It’s not what we wanted coming out of Spring Training, I can tell you that. But in a way, you can be somewhat thankful.”
– Carrie Muskat