By Dan Bernstein — senior columnist

(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon has told 670 The Score that his first concern upon arriving at the ballpark each day is his bullpen, understanding that it’s likely to decide the outcome of a given game.

No matter the performance of any starters, he has been proved right, for the most part. And that awareness has informed attentive Cubs fans in watching how easily something can go sideways in pursuit of a title.

Relief pitchers are all guys who failed as starters at some point.

Sometimes failed starters fail as relievers right in front of our eyes.

On Sunday night in Los Angeles, it was the bullpen that undid the Cubs again. Starter John Lackey coming on in relief for the second straight day, this time serving up the walk-off three-run homer to Justin Turner that lifted the Dodgers to a 4-1 win in Game 2 and a commanding 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.

So here we are at understanding that all of it may not be the year of the Cubs, that the months of celebration were part of a coming down to a new and different place.

Unless it still might be something , and it’s cool to think that.

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.

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