Chicago Cubs still have plenty of doubters, myself included


After years of disappointing performances, it’s hard to fully believe that the Chicago Cubs’ postseason drought will come to an end in just over a month.

It’s not that I don’t recognize how much talent this year’s Chicago Cubs team has.

Really, one would have to be blind to not see it. When you combine the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber with a rotation headlined by Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta and proven veteran Jon Lester, it’s hard to not like this team.

Yet, for whatever reason, I find myself holding back from completely believing in the Cubs’ postseason chances.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Chicago has a 93.7 percent chance of reaching the postseason  with just 30 games left in the regular season. Those are pretty good odds for most fans.

But not us.

I don’t even know why exactly I’ve grown more nervous with each passing month. Normally, by Aug. 1, the Cubs have started to fade out of the picture and the Chicago Bears take center stage in the Windy City.

Well, that date has come and gone and still, the Cubs are projected to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Maybe it’s the youth. Sure, Bryant, Schwarber and Addison Russell have been great in their rookie campaigns, but when you’re being hunted by a team like the battle-tested, reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants, you can’t help but look over your shoulder.

San Francisco has been there. They’ve done that, winning three of the last five World Series. Bruce Bochy is, in my mind, somehow still one of the most underrated managers in the game today, despite his tremendous achievements in the Bay.

The Giants’ success comes down to the health of Hunter Pence. When Pence is in the San Francisco lineup, that team wins. When he’s not, they’ve tended to struggle a bit – which is just fine by me.

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With youth, which is just about all the Cubs have on the field on a daily basis minus Dexter Fowler, David Ross, Miguel Montero and Chris Coghlan, there are ebbs and flows – and when it comes down to it, you never know how they’ll hold up when it matters most.

That being said, this Chicago Cubs team has exceeded expectations all season-long, finishing at or above the .500 mark in every single month. In fact, they came in above the break-even mark in every month but one – May, when the team went an even 14-14.

The truth is that the Cubs have been so disappointing for so long that I have forgotten what it’s like to have complete faith that your team will handle its business on a day-in, day-out basis.

The closest I’ve come this season is whenever Arrieta takes the ball, I bank on at least seven innings of three-run ball that will spare us the occasional bullpen theatrics we’ve grown accustomed to. But as far as expecting Chicago to win series on a regular basis, I still lean toward the side of caution.

Before the season, I picked the Cubs to finish third in the Central. I said the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals were still a cut above Chicago and Milwaukee and Cincinnati would be terrible and complete non-factors.

So far, so good. Now, it’s time I let myself believe that the losing culture that has hung over Wrigley Field for so long is finally dissipating and that the Chicago Cubs are a legitimate postseason threat.

Next: Jorge Soler still determined to make an impact for Cubs