It's all over. The Chicago Cubs' run as defending world champions ended Thursday night ended with a thud, as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat them 11-1 at Wrigley Field to take the National League division series in five games.
Here are three questions as the Cubs look ahead to an early off-season after three straight NLCS appearances and a World Series victory last year:
1. What were the Cubs' final offensive statistics in the NLCS?
Their hitters had a combined batting average of .156 with 7 home runs. Anthony Rizzo batted .059, and Kris Bryant hit .200. The third and fourth spots in the order combined to bat .135 (5-for-37).
2. Was Jake Arrieta's Game 4 victory his swan song as a Cub?
Not necessarily but most likely. Arrieta was slowed by a hamstring injury late in the season, but he looked strong against the Dodgers. He has Scott Boras as his agent and will likely seek a multiyear deal well in excess of $100 million. The Cubs likely will shake Arrieta's hand, thank him for everything and wish him well.
3. What are the biggest off-season moves for team president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer?
The Cubs will need at least two starting pitchers, if both Arrieta and John Lackey leave. They'll also have to determine if they're going to go outside the organization for a leadoff man. And of course, bullpens are an issue for every team every year. Closer Wade Davis also is a free agent. Expect Epstein and Hoyer to be busy this winter.