Chicago Cubs: Final lineup of the season served as a jarring reminder

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The season I dubbed, ”The Magical Misery Tour” is finally in the books, at least as far as the Chicago Cubs are concerned. Now comes some real work that will unfold over the next several months. But even as Sunday’s game was called because of rain, I was in a reflective mood.

Looking at the last game’s lineup got me to thinking about how dramatically things changed on the North Side this year. So many players who started with the team are nowhere to be seen these days in Cubbie blue.

The starting lineup for the first game of the season against the Pirates has only one player in common with the nine who showed up on the last day of the regular season in St. Louis: Ian Happ.

David Ross’ lineup on Opening Day looked like this:

  1. Ian Happ – CF
  2. Willson Contreras – C
  3. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  4. Kris Bryant – 3B
  5. Joc Pederson – LF
  6. Javier Baez – SS
  7. Jason Heyward – RF
  8. David Bote – 2B
  9. Kyle Hendricks – P

Now let’s take a look at how the Cubs lined up for Game 162 on Sunday in St. Louis.

  1. Rafael Ortega – CF
  2. Frank Schwindel – 1B
  3. Ian Happ – LF
  4. Matt Duffy – 3B
  5. Trayce Thompson – RF
  6. Sergio Alcantara – SS
  7. Trent Giambrone – 2B
  8. Erick Castillo – C
  9. Alec Mills – P

This was a season where you really did need an updated program to know who was playing on a near-daily basis.

Chicago Cubs: Some last thoughts on this year and a few remarkable facts

Injuries in the last two weeks caused the Cubs to place several players on the IL, effectively ending their respective seasons. It also meant Chicago needed to bring more guys up from Triple-A Iowa. The 2021 Cubs set a record for most players used by a team in a single season. With the appearance in game 162 of pitcher Joe Biagini, and catcher, Tyler Payne, the Cubs ended up using sixty-nine different players this year.

One real oddity of this season, pointed out by the announcers in Sunday’s game, is that the Cubs had scored two less runs for the season than the Cardinals. With today’s rain-shortened one run win, the Cards, as a team, end up outscoring the Cubs by one single run, for the entire season. Yet the Cards are postseason-bound and the Cubs lost 91 games.

Next. Looking back at the top moments from recent years. dark

Go figure. Goodbye 2021, bring on 2022. Go Cubs!’