Cubs eliminated from playoff chase as Marlins beat Pirates


MILWAUKEE — As the Cubs grabbed their bats for the top of the eighth inning against the Brewers, hoping to add onto their 10-6 lead, the Marlins sealed Chicago’s fate from Pittsburgh.

The Marlins’ 7-3 victory against the Pirates eliminated the Cubs from the playoff chase.

It was a long, swift fall out of playoff contention. 

When the Cubs completed a three-game sweep of the Giants, who at the time were also in the Wild Card race, on Sept. 6, FanGraphs put the Cubs’ chances of making the postseason at 92.4%. 

They lost 14 of their next 20 games. Then, on Saturday, the Marlins’ victory shrunk those odds all the way to 0%. 

At least from the outside, the Cubs’ fate seemed inevitable after their 4-3 loss to the Brewers in 10 innings on Friday. The team’s losing streak reached four games, and all four the Cubs had lost by two runs or fewer. Half of them went into extra innings. 

“It’s never one thing,” left fielder Ian Happ said Friday night. “There’s so many plays and so many little things that change the course of the game, and it all adds up.”

The same could be said about the Cubs’ season. If their bullpen had been healthier in September and their offense had come through more in the clutch the past week, maybe they’d still be in the chase. But the offense was a major part of the Cubs’ season-saving surge through the trade deadline. 

What if they’d added more back-end bullpen depth, either via acquisitions or player development? What if they hadn’t slumped quite so hard in May? What if they’d won more close games earlier in the year?

It’s not just one thing.

Now, the question becomes, which of those can be addressed for next year? The Cubs took major strides from the last two rebuilding seasons, but ultimately, they weren’t enough.


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