Wrapping up the Cubs’ longest road trip since 2004 today. It’s been a grind. The Cubs limp into today’s series finale having lost 5 in a row and 7 of 10 on the journey.
This is the last game against a non-contender. The final 3 sets are against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, whose magic number is 2 in that division, Pittsburgh and then St. Louis. The Pirates and Cardinals will both be in the post-season. It’s just a matter of whether the Bucs can catch the Cardinals in the division race.
At 5.5 games behind the Brewers, the Cubs are virtually assured of finishing in last place and grabbing a top 5 pick. The draft slot aside, it’s hard to look at the record and be in any way excited about it. The Cubs will improve on last year’s 101-loss record, but unless they turn it around in a hurry, their 2013 record will only be a handful of games better.
Yes, there has been tangible progress. More organization-wide than on the big league roster of course. But there is definitely more talent in the chain than there was a year ago (a lot in fact). And that’s what you have to hang your hat on going into the off-season if you’re a Cubs fan — the big picture.