Commentary: Finishing strong


by - Columnist -
Jim Young - USA Today Sports
Jim Young - USA Today Sports

I have enjoyed the craziness emanating from Cubs fans across the country recently regarding, among others, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Jose Quintana, Javier Baez, and David Bote. I almost spit out my coffee the other day when a writer suggested that Russell needs to be traded. Good stuff.

I am comforted by the fact that none of us gets to make the decisions regarding who plays and who stays. If it were up to the fans they would still have David DeJesus playing centerfield and batting lead-off instead of doing the pre and post-game shows.

Anyway, all of that nonsense is for another time, when the cold winds of November blow in and you know that there are four months of winter staring you in the face. There will be plenty of time then to argue over who should stay on the roster.

For now, the single focus of this team, and the fans is getting the magic number down from 19 to 0 as fast as possible. The schedule has not been good for the Cubs this year and you throw in make-up games and suddenly you have a very tired team.

The biggest complaint by fans, online, is that there is no energy on this team. I would say that you should think about going to work every day for three weeks, with no time off, all the while every three days or so you are getting on an airplane and flying across the country to another city where you don’t get into your hotel room until 3 AM and see how peppy you are at work.

All of us would be dragging our butts and looking like something the dead carried into the office and deposited at a desk. The fact that until the Milwaukee series the Cubs had been winning, or tying, most series they’ve played is remarkable. They are doing what they need to be doing right now.

Back to that magic number. The Cubs need to get through the next seven days, winning at least four out of the seven games. They then will get a day off, play six games, get another day off and conclude the season with a ten game stretch. The hope is that the last ten days mean nothing as they will have already clinched the Central.

The opportunity to set your playoff rotation and rest starters going into the postseason is huge. Getting the bumps, bruises, and sore muscles healed, even a little bit, can be a major advantage over the other teams. Keeping the best record in the NL is also the goal for many reasons including making the Dodgers fly across country to play the Braves before playing the Cubs in the NL championship series.

Its is getting close to the most fun time of the year, playoffs, and if the Cubs can continue to do the things they have been doing to win the Central it will be a nice long run in October for our heroes.

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