Countdown is on for Cubs wild-card game

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CHICAGO — No matter how the playoffs turn out for the Chicago Cubs, manager Joe Maddon wanted to know one thing.

He asked how anyone could be "disappointed with anything our players have done."

The Cubs visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday night for the NL wild-card game. It's the first playoff appearance for the franchise in seven years.

The team left for Pittsburgh this afternoon.  Buses left from Wrigley Field around 4 p.m. and headed to the airport. Players stopped and signed autographs for a few fans.

The emergence of several young players helped turn the Cubs into one of the best teams in baseball even though they finished third in their division.

They will send Jake Arrieta to the mound against Gerrit Cole and the Pirates, hoping his dominant run continues into the postseason. If they win, the Cubs meet St. Louis in the division series. Otherwise, it's on to next year.