If there’s one thing we learned in the Chicago Cubs 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds is that Ben Zobrist is on fire. Last night he picked up another home run to make it three in the last couple of days. I think though, the real star of the day was Jon Lester. Even though he didn’t get his 20th win of the season, he proved to be a workhorse and notched his 200th inning pitched, which was his goal from the start of the season. His ERA is 2.44, which will make it tough for this afternoon’s pitcher Kyle Hendricks when it comes to Cy Young voting.
The Cubs will wrap up this magnificent season today knowing that they lived up to expectations. With the potential to finish with 103 wins, this year’s Cubs is one of the best.
“I don’t want to sound like a [jerk] or anything, but we haven’t done anything yet. The 100 wins are great. We’ve had a lot of personal achievements. The big thing for this team is we’re consistent. We show up every day ready to play, and that’s huge, especially with the young group we have. That’s a hard thing to learn at a young age. … What it comes down to, this season isn’t anything unless we do what we showed up in Spring Training to do and win a World Series. The 100 and whatever wins is great, all the personal stuff is great. This is go time now. Now we have to live up to the expectations and the hype.” Lester said.
He’s right. The Cubs do show up ready to play. They’ve stayed relatively healthy through the season and it’ll pay dividends Friday. They’ll have plenty of rest and yesterday’s lineup was probably a glimpse into the lineup for Friday.
“I think we’ve been doing a nice job,” Joe Maddon said. “I’m happy with what we’re doing now. It’s not about this. It’s about four days off (before the first playoff game) — that’s the bigger concern.”
Today is fitting that Kyle Hendricks will end one of the Cubs most historic seasons. Although he won’t see too many innings, it’s symbolic that the he kind of lead the Cubs into the post season.
“Now it’s go time,” Lester said. “This is the real season now. You play 162 to get to now. It’ll be completely different when you step on that field Friday with that crowd. I’m sure it’ll be electric. This is playoff baseball — that’s when it becomes a lot of fun and every pitch is do or die.”