Chicago Cubs: Young arms could provide a path forward in 2022

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

On Sunday afternoon, a sad ending at Wrigley Field in front of just under 27,000 closed the book on a tumultuous home schedule. It put once again into question the direction of this ball club. The Chicago Cubs will not lose 100 games this season. However, they may come close, which should tell you everything fans and the organization experienced this season.

When the direction is, well, directionless, you need to see things in a different light. Sometimes you need to flip things in a way to see an upside-down event right side up. The case for this can be made for the shred of positive, which also occurred on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley. Enter Keegan Thompson and Adbert Alzolay.

Chicago Cubs: The future can be bright for this rotation

Five years ago, this Cubs rotation was anchored by a starving core of starting pitchers who dreamt of what a taste at the World Series would mean to them. Sure, some guys on that squad understood what that meant or how the experience played out, yet some had never known that feeling and did not know the ride they were about to experience.

Five years later, a single proprietor still finds himself a part of the rotation, and that is Kyle Hendricks. The strange nature and direction that this rotation moved in so quickly shifted an expectation and reality. There are big shoes to fill, and the likes of Thompson and Alzolay can help to shore the rotation up as the club heads south for the winter in figuring out a game plan for 2022.

In the final game at Wrigley Field of the 2021 season for the Cubs this past Sunday, Thompson and Alzolay combined for 6 2/3 innings of one-run baseball with ten strikeouts and only two walks. But, of course, the rugged nature of the bullpen could not hold the lead, and the Cubs fell in the ninth.

The bigger story at play is the work of Thompson and Alzolay and next season. Brailyn Marquez will probably play into the bullpen at the minimum in 2022, and Ryan Jensen is another name to watch to see where and how he fits into the mold.

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As crummy as everything went this season and the road ahead for the future of this club, there is hope in the rotation. Growing pains will be a part of the process, and sometimes you need to trust the process.