I got pretty jacked up when people, last year, suggested that the conclusion of the NL Central race was the product of a Chicago Cubs collapse.
Setting aside the fact that the Cubs had played approximately 100 games over the final 30 days of the season, the team went 16-12 in September (.571 clip), including winning 11 of their final 17 games (.647 clip). In no reasonable universe can you describe that 95-win team as one that collapse. The Brewers played out of their minds, to their credit, and they took the division.
When people say that the 2019 Cubs collapsed, however, they’ll get no argument from me. This team absolutely did collapse: since they last held a division lead on August 22, the Cubs have gone 13-16 (.448 clip), including losing their last six in a row.
A picture is worth a thousand (swear) words, and I’ve got a picture that tells you everything you need to know about the Cubs’ last week of baseball.
The Cubs’ playoff odds, for the season, in a graph form at FanGraphs – and the cliff they fell off:
As you can see, the Cubs had started to resurge on the strength of a five-game winning streak – how appropriate – just before this six-game nosedive came.
This season has been marked by extreme fluctuations and seemingly inexplicable failings, but this concluding swoon puts the exclamation point on the whole thing. At 2.2%, yeah, sure, the Cubs still have a theoretical shot at a Wild Card spot, but I’m thinking this story has already been written.