Tradition and fan support don't win league pennants.
Without Beckett being Beckett, Boston has some solid starters but no one who can carry a team through the postseason - certainly no one who will intimidate the Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox.
And all three of those clubs, statistically speaking, have better pitching staffs than Boston.
The Cubs are in a much better position to get to the World Series for the first time since 1945 with Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden as a 1-2 pitching punch. They also have a more feared middle of the order than a Manny Ramirez-less Boston.
But there are other National League playoff contenders that have comparable pitching duos (Milwaukee and Arizona, for instance). And these are the Cubs, who often find a way to mess things up.
If the Cubs keep hitting and their bullpen stays healthy, they have a shot to make it to the October classic.
But don't expect the Red Sox to be waiting for them.