By Dan Bernstein — senior columnist

(CBS) Don’t be annoyed by my annual reminder about statistical variance in the baseball playoffs. Instead, consider yourself lucky that I know many need it again — it’s another sign that your team is successful and the plan that was articulated so clearly and executed so carefully is working as planned.

All that was ever promised to Cubs fans was a reasonable expectation for an October spin of the wheel of fortune, and here you are.

With that, there’s this: The six-month, 162-game regular season determines the best MLB team, and the playoffs determine the winner of the World Series. The two are often mutually exclusive.

In a short series and sometimes throughout an entire postseason, know that some good players will be bad, some bad players will be good and anyone involved can make a difference positively or negatively due to the small number of high-leverage opportunities to succeed or fail. No time left anymore for anything to come out in the mathematical wash, so it all sticks.

A game managed properly by the numbers can still turn sideways on unlikely outcomes, just as good fortune can gloss over some managerial head-scratchers at the most critical times (as you must now know).

This clearly isn’t The Cubs’ Year, as it was in 2016. There are more and different national narratives this time around and more formidable competition across the board. And there’s every reason to believe the Cubs can still be champions once again.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.