CHICAGO – All good runs must come to an end, but Cubs’ fans were sure hoping it wouldn’t be this soon.
In 2019, the Cubs were at the top of the NL Central or solidly in the Wild Card race for a majority of the season. But a collapse in the final two weeks has led to the end of their postseason streak.
The Brewers’ victory over the Reds in Cincinnati Wednesday night officially knocked the Cubs’ out of the playoffs for the first time since 2014, putting Milwaukee in for a second-straight season. It was caused by a bad month of September in which they were 9-13 entering Wednesday’s game at Pittsburgh, which included seven-straight losses over the last week.
Another loss was added to that when the Cubs lost to the Pirates 4-2 after the Brewers had already sealed their fate.
That included five-straight one-run losses at Wrigley Field in the final homestand of the season, including back-to-back blown leads in the ninth inning against the Cardinals Saturday and Sunday. A 9-2 defeat to the Pirates Tuesday coupled with a win by Milwaukee in Cincinnati put the Cubs’ “tragic number” at one coming into Wednesday.
It ends a four-year postseason streak for the club, which is the longest in franchise history, besting the three-straight appearances from 1906-1908. In this span, the Cubs won two National League Central Division titles, appeared in two National League Championship Series, and won the 2016 World Series. That was the franchise’s first since 1908, ending the 108-year championship drought.
Following Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh, the Cubs will have four more games left in the 2019 season, playing one more against the Pirates Thursday night before a three-game series against the Cardinals to end their season. After a poor finish to the 2018 season that led to the team’s early elimination from the playoffs in the Wild Card game along with the last collapse this season, changes figure to be on the way.
Manager Joe Maddon’s contract expires at the end of the season and the team may seek a change in the clubhouse to shake up the team following the lackluster 2019 season. President Theo Epstein may also choose to reshape the roster, perhaps parting ways with a core player that helped the team to four-straight playoff appearances.
Those changes will be on the way in the coming months, as the Cubs aim to start a new playoff streak in 2020.