The Cubs are back in the postseason. Well, at least a few former Cubs are.
The postseason isn’t close to being over, the excitement of -October already has been felt and some familiar faces have been a big part of that.
While their former club isn’t in the postseason, a few ex-Cubs have been making their presence felt when it counts on their new clubs.
Third baseman Kris Bryant, who was dealt to the Giants at the trade deadline, thrived in his first trip to the National League Division Series since 2017. Bryant displayed the versatility that he has been famous for throughout his career, playing all three outfield spots and first base during the series, which the Dodgers won in five games.
He also made an impact at the plate, hitting .471 (8-for-17) with a homer and a 1.147 OPS.
“It feels like forever ago those years [in the playoffs with the Cubs],” Bryant said last week. “Maybe I didn’t do enough to really soak in that atmosphere. That was a pretty special atmosphere.”
Outfielder Kyle Schwarber has made his presence felt on the big stage as a key contributor for the Red Sox, who shocked the Rays in the American League Division Series. While not known as the versatile defender his old teammate Bryant is, Schwarber has been playing first base during the Red Sox’ run to the AL Championship Series.
Though it didn’t start smoothly, Schwarber has been able to adjust to his new position on the fly.
“You’ve got to be able to make fun of yourself,” Schwarber said. “It was a good time. I think I got a laugh out of pretty much almost everyone. It’s a game. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. You’ve got to be able to make fun of yourself every once in a while and loosen the situation up.”
Schwarber is no stranger to thriving in October. As the Red Sox’ leadoff man, he has continued to be a prime postseason performer. He’s hitting .316 (6-for-19) with two walks, two home runs and six runs scored.
White Sox right-hander Ryan Tepera might have had the most newsworthy postseason of any former Cub this year. Tepera went off on the Astros after the Sox’ Game 3 victory in their ALDS, implying that the Astros were cheating during home games, which caused quite a stir.
‘‘They’ve obviously had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there,’’ Tepera said. “‘We can say it’s a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings-and-misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid [Park].’’
‘‘He can say what he wants to say,’’ Astros manager Dusty Baker said. ‘‘I had never even heard his name before we played the White Sox. I’m not bothered by it. Most of my life, they’ve been talking stuff on me anyway. Let them talk.’’
Despite his controversial comments, Tepera pitched well out of the bullpen, allowing one run and two hits in 4⅔ innings.
Finally, there’s first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was traded to the Yankees at the deadline. He didn’t have the extended postseason run like his three former teammates. The Yankees lost to the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game. Rizzo went 1-for-4 but launched a long solo homer in the 6-2 loss.
It has been a bittersweet ride for Cubs fans as they’ve watched some of the franchise’s biggest names have so much success on the big stage. They’re hoping it won’t be long before they can watch current Cubs play in October and not former ones.