Chicago Cubs: No reason to believe this group isn’t up to the challenge

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Feeding off the doubters and haters this spring

There’s no point getting into how last season went. We’ve talked about it on end for the last four months. An offense that broke in the second half, a late-season surge by the Milwaukee Brewers and a Wild Card game loss to the Colorado Rockies – that’s about all you need to know when talking about the 2018 rendition of the Chicago Cubs.

So, it stands to reason that folks are skeptical of the club heading into this season. Ownership pulled the purse strings tighter than ever before, the front office relied on bargain shopping and fans’ early offseason optimism quickly faded away as the team was mired in bad headline after bad headline.

And then, to cap it all off, PECOTA projections tabbed the Cubs to finish fifth in the division this year: at 80-82. But the guys in the clubhouse aren’t worried. In fact, they’re feeding off the ‘underdog’ label we thought they had shunned and, instead, are embracing it wholeheartedly.

Why shouldn’t they?

What are they supposed to do? Roll over and play dead? No. Not this team. If anything, they’re doing exactly what I, as a fan, want to see. They know they dropped the ball last season. Guys like Bryant, Lester or 2018 NL MVP runner-up Javier Baez know that things have changed and expectations are different now. And they’re ready to meet them again in 2019.