“It Stinks!!”: Cubs Collapse Dooms Season, Will Miss Playoffs Yet AGAIN: What Changes Need To Be Made??

The Chicago Cubs, once riding high on an eight-game winning streak just before the MLB trade deadline, have seen their playoff hopes crumble to dust.

Their elimination from postseason contention comes after a tumultuous September that witnessed defensive miscues, bullpen meltdowns, and an unfortunate string of losses in crucial moments.

The Cubs dramatic downfall was sealed on Saturday night when the Miami Marlins secured a 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, solidifying their spot as one of the National League’s wild card seeds.

This, coupled with the Arizona Diamondbacks successful push for a wild card spot, means that the Cubs will be watching the postseason from the comfort of their homes.

“It stinks,” lamented catcher Yan Gomes after the Cubs 10-6 victory over the Brewers. “That’s going to be a bit of a sourdough.”

The Cubs, who were once given a 92% chance of making the playoffs by FanGraphs just a few weeks ago, faltered when it mattered most.

Their September struggles included blowing five leads in the 8th inning or later, a franchise record for a single month in the past 50 seasons. Additionally, the team committed 12 fielding errors in September, the most in baseball and their highest monthly total since September 2015.

“In the last two weeks, we had close games that we didn’t come out on the right side of,” said second baseman Nico Hoerner. “Both high-scoring games we didn’t win and low-scoring games we didn’t win. When it came down to it, we made some uncharacteristic mistakes as a group. Myself included.”

The defensive woes afflicted even gold glove-caliber players like Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, and Hoerner, all of whom contributed to costly errors leading to runs.

However, none was more pivotal than right fielder Seiya Suzuki’s missed catch in Tuesday’s loss to the Atlanta Braves, which allowed two crucial runs to score. The Cubs remained winless until their recent victory over the Brewers after Suzuki’s error.

“Frustrating, especially being in every game against good teams and grinding our way but just not making it happen,” Swanson acknowledged. “Just playing bad. Which I own. Just haven’t performed in moments recently. Sucks.”

Swanson, who signed a hefty 7-year, $177 million deal with the Cubs last winter, struggled mightily in the final two weeks of the season, batting a meager .161.

The Cubs late-season collapse stands in stark contrast to their promising performance leading up to the trade deadline in July.

Their eight-game winning streak prompted President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer to bolster the roster rather than offloading free agents Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman.

The Cubs momentum carried them into August, where they temporarily claimed the second wild card spot in the NL, turning around from being 10 games under .500 in June to 10 games over .500 in August.

“We were playing unbelievable baseball in July to even put us in this situation,” noted Bellinger. “It could have gone either way. We fought until the very end. The last few weeks were on the frustrating side than any of us wanted it to be.”

At one point this month, the Cubs enjoyed a 3.5-game lead over the next wild card contender. However, that lead quickly dissipated after Labor Day, a grueling week marked by alternating day and night games at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs never fully recovered, and the late-season decline was marked by losses to teams like the Braves and Brewers, who had already secured playoff spots and were resting their pitchers. The Cubs also suffered a series loss to wild card rival Arizona.

“Am I surprised? Sure,” said manager David Ross. “We haven’t played our best baseball down the stretch.”

As the offseason approaches, the Cubs face critical decisions, including the contract option for long-time starter Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman’s opt-out clause.

Bellinger, whose services will be highly sought after, will also be a focus of discussions.

Despite the bitter end to the season, there are still positives to take away from this season, as Yan Gomes noted: “It doesn’t feel like it right now, but there is a lot to be proud of from a lot of different guys.”

Manager David Ross summed up the Cubs’ season, stating: “You have to be great, consistently if you want to get to the postseason and the World Series. We know that. We fell short of that. We took a step forward from last year and we have more steps to take.”

What do you make of the Cubs rollercoaster season?

What do they need to do in the offseason to ensure a collapse like this doesn’t happen again?