(PHOTO BY Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Our beloved Chicago Cubs finished the 2008 regular season with a 97-64 record. 97 freaking wins my friends!
Some fans hoped they might get to that 100 win milestone but that didn’t happen, and that’s alright. It doesn’t really matter anyway, wins and losses mean nothing going into the playoffs. Instead of going all out for those last few wins Lou Pinella used the last week to rest his regulars, give the bench players and rookies a chance to play, set up the post season staff and look at all the middle relievers to see who would fill those last few bullpen positions.
The 97 Wins by the Cubs are the highest number by the franchise since the 1945 season. In 1945 the Cubs won 98 games to finish 98-56-1. (Wait, there were ties back then?) 1945 was also the year of the last World Series trip for the Cubbies. History is on our side my friends! Good omens!
The 97 wins also the give the Cubs the best record in the National League! Whoa! The Phillies had 92 wins and won the National League East. The Milwaukee Brewers had the third most wins with 90 to gain the Wild Card spot. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are the Cubs first round opponent, won 84 games to win the NL West. This was less than both the Cardinals and the Astros who won 86 games but didn’t get to the playoffs. Sorry guys but that seems to happen every year to somebody.
The winningest team in baseball for 2008 was the Los Angeles Angels, with an even 100 to win the AL West. The Tampa Bay Rays won 97 and the AL East. The Boston Red Sox won 95 to clinch the Wild Card. The Twins and the White Sox finished the season tied for first with 88 wins and matched up in a one game playoff for the AL Central title. The Sox won an exciting 1-0 game, setting up the potential Best Delusional Cubs Fan Fantasy of All Time: The Cubs beating the White Sox in the World Series. Oh that would be sweet.
That White Sox win on the bonus last day of the season set up the brackets for the first round in the AL.
2008 American League Division Series:
Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays.
The Cubs lost the final game of the season 3-1 in a game where Pinella pitched almost all his bullpen guys to see who would get the final spot. It was a meaningless game for the Cubs but incredibly important for the Milwaukee Brewers. For the Brewers this win on the last game of the season, along with the loss by the Mets, gave the brew crew their first visit to postseason play since 1982. It also means the Brewers and Cubs could potentially meet later on in the playoffs. That would potentially be a hell of a series between the two rivals if it were to happen.
2008 National League Division Series:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs CHICAGO CUBS
Milwaukee Brewers vs Philadelphia Phillies
The Cubs will have to get past the “more dangerous than people think” Los Angeles Dodgers and the Brewers would have to beat the power hitting/slacker pitching of the Philadelphia Phillies for it to happen. Round one is set: Dodgers vs CUBS and Brewers vs Phillies. DING! DING!
Other 2008 Chicago Cubs Regular Season Facts:
The Cubs led the league in runs with 855. This is only the 3rd time in franchise history they’ve scored more than 850 runs in a season.
The Cubs batted .278 for the season. This is the highest team average since 1937 when they hit an incredible .287 as a team.
The most suprising offensive statistic: The Cubs led the league in walks! If you’ve been a Cubs fan for awhile, you know that this was pretty much unthinkable before Pinella came to town. In 2008 the Cubbies had 636 walks!
The Cubs led the league in Doubles with 329.
The Cubs pitching staff led the league in strikeouts with 1,264. This was an incredible 8th year in a row the Cubs have led the league in strikeouts!
The Cubs had the third lowest ERA in the NL at 3.87, just behind the Brewers 3.85 and the Dodgers 3.68.
The Cubs pitchers allowed the second lowest number of runs in the NL with 671. The Dodgers led the league in this category as well, allowing just 648.
2008 was the second year in a row the Chicago Cubs won the National League Central. The last time the Cubs won the division two years in a row was the 1907-1908 seasons. That’s right, it was the last time the Cubs were in the World Series. History is on our side my friends!
The Cubs had five players with 20 or more Home Runs!
Alfonso Soriano – 29
Aramis Ramirez – 27
Geovany Soto – 23
Mark DeRosa – 21
Derrek Lee - 20
If you want to, you can count Jim Edmonds too. He had 20 homers, but to be technical, only 19 of them were as a Cub.
The Cubs finished 33 games over .500! Imagine that friends. What a year! This is the best Cubs team I have seen in my lifetime. Unless you were around in 1969(not me), or maybe 1984(I was) this is probably the best Cubs team you’ve ever seen too. Let’s enjoy this!
I’m excited. GO CUBS!!!!
Reflections on the 2008 Season – Bleed Cubbie Blue
Cubs no spoilers, will face LA in NLDS – Chicago Tribune