The Chicago Cubs loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night hurt.
Like, a lot.
The scene was perfectly set: starting pitcher (Jason Hammel) leaves the game in the first inning; big bad Michael Wacha takes a 4-0 lead; Anthony Rizzo gets the team fired up; the Cubs come storming back on Miguel Montero’s three-run double; the Cubs win three of four, move within 6 1/2 of the division lead, and have some serious mojo working moving towards the second half.
But per Cubs tradition, nothing ever fits together perfectly.
With two outs in the ninth, Jhonny Peralta hit a go-ahead, two-run home run, which eventually secured a 6-5 Cardinals win. Devastation.
And then something strange happens. All those forlorn Cubs fans file out of Wrigley, the ones at home turn off their televisions, we hear yet again how the “Cardinal Way” is the greatest thing since sliced bread, we roll our eyes, and then it dawns on us: #WeAreGood. #WeAreYoung.
46-38 and three games secured into the second wild card spot. Sure, that’s a game you feel like you should have had, but the wound is fresh. The reality is that the Cubs just split a four-game set with the best team in baseball, and showed at every turn they can compete with them. And again, this is supposedly the beginning of a long and fruitful road for the Cubs. The Cubs were supposed to be .500 if the season went well. They are eight games over .500 and currently own the sixth best record in all of baseball.
You tip your hat to the ridiculous pitch that Peralta connected on, file it under “Baseball Sucks Sometimes,” and move on with the remaining 78 games.
Based on how Joe Maddon has this team playing, it’s a safe bet to assume they’ll do just that.