Delayed Cubs Recap Blues--Cardinals 2 Cubs 1

It is hard to find the motivation to describe this one. It was a loss that is eveyr bit as painful as the scoreline indicates. The Cubs lost total control over their fate. I suppose that isn't completely true because they do still control their fate, but the possibility of the nightmare scenario of a game 163 tiebreaker for the division. Then having to play in the Wild Card game and if the Cubs are lucky a game 1 in the NLDS in quick succession.

The game started out so promisingly. Cole Hamels was spectacular to start the game. He retired the first nine Cards in order. He had a "mere" three strikeouts in his first turn, but it was again that elite Hamel shoving on the mound. I don't know what is different about pitching in Chicago for Hamels, but any hope the Cubs have rests on the revived starting pitching.

The Cubs struck first with a little help from the Cardinals defense. Miles Mikolas was every bit as good as he has been this season. Ben Zobrist hit a one out single to give the Cubs a glimpse of hope, but Anthony Rizzo flied out for the second out. Javier Báez hit a pop fly that Yairo Muñoz raced to catch but helplessly watched in clank off of his glove. The ball skipped away from Tyler O'Neill allowing Zobrist to race home for the first tally. Mikolas would scatter another four hits over eight strong innings. He didn't allow an earned run in the quality outing.

Matt Carpenter started the fourth inning, and hit an easy bouncer for the apparent first out. However, Victor Caratini reached out a little too far and was called for catcher's interference. José Martínez drew a walk, and Paul DeJong smacked a run scoring single into left field. The game was tied with the go ahead run in scoring position. Hamels punched out Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina for the first two outs. The Gyork Store was out of hits in the fourth as Jedd Gyorko grounded into the final out.

The fifth inning began with Hamels plunking Harrison Bader. Muñoz drew a walk to again give the Carinals two on with no outs on zero hits. Mikolas struck out swinging, and Matt Carpenter battled Cole Hamels in the next at bat. Carpenter took a close 2-2 pitch that the home plate umpire flinched on. Instead it was called ball 3, and on the next pitch Carpenter drove in the go ahead run. Hamels pitched through the seventh inning allowing just three hits.

The Cubs placed runners on, but twice hard hit balls turned into lineout double plays in back to back innings. In the third inning Daniel Murphy poked a one out single, but he was erased on Ben Zobrist's lineout double play. The bottom of the fourth inning saw Kris Bryant hit a ball right at Matt Carpenter for an inning ending double play. The Cubs did not draw a single free pass in the game. The Cubs only managed a single single after the fourth inning. The sixth inning lead off base hit from Daniel Murphy was the last gasp of the sputtering offense.

The Cubs bullpen tandem of Steve Cishek and Jesse Chavez pitched two scoreless frames to keep the Cubs in the ballgame, but the offense couldn't manage anything. Carlos Martinez slammed the door on the Cubs. It is a final in Milwaukee and it is indeed a tie a top the National League Central. Super.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
The Cubs had the division for most of the season, but they find themselves tied heading into game 162 of the season. So a potential third straight National League Central crown might be this for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. Or maybe win 95 will push the Cubs straight into the NLDS for a fourth straight year.

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  • Christian Yelich, your NL MVP.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Better late then never to realize it.

    Although Javy and the boys are going to surprise us all tomorrow.

  • I know this isn't much consolation, but after playing the 161st game of the 2018 season, the Cubs have the best record in the NL. We will enter the final game in (at least a tie for) 1st place. I understand the scenarios, but look at it this way: we will have to lose two more consecutive games to be eliminated. We lost today, so a three-game losing streak, when it matters most. As inconsistent as this team is, that doesn't happen. #wearegood

    I say this because I feel the ledge getting crowded, and if the Brewers win I'm afraid Cubs fans will begin jumping en masse.

    I refuse to be a lemming.*

    "You can feel the beat within my heart.
    Realize, sweet babe, we ain't ever gonna part."

    *Lemmings don't commit mass suicide. That is a myth.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm not really back on the ledge, but I'm wondering if it's easier for the Cubs to just play everyone tomorrow who needs to work issues out and if we lose, we lose, but at least we would be set to have Lester go on Tuesday in the wild card game, and hopefully guys like CJ, Cishek, Wilson and others whom have faltered can take an inning tomorrow to get their confidence back in their mechanics. And everybody would get Monday off and be rested for Tuesday. I just see that as being easier than having to play an intense game on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then only have one day off, if we happen to win on Tuesday.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    No, absolutely not. We want to avoid those play-in games. We will play to win. Hendricks is off-limits tomorrow, but everyone else is a go. The Cubs have already announced Lester can come out of the pen tomorrow, he's set for a side session anyway. Good luck, Monty, but you're on a short leash. Expect to see Big Jon in a piggyback role.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    From what I read, Maddon said tomorrow is not do or die and Lester won't be used.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I will just steal your line. I feel the need to comment, but don't know what say. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Haha Slug—- I didn’t even pick up on your allusion to my post from a while back when the cubs were playing poorly. That’s funny... yeah I really hope we bring our A game tomorrow. Like I wanna see us score 9 runs in the first 2 or 3 innings and put all doubt to rest. Go Cubs Go!!!

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I would be more then happy if we can score 9 runs for the game.

    An early 3 spot would be wonderful

    One thing you have to give the Brewers credit for is the Tigers jumped on them early in both games, but their MVP and offense said Jose no way and they kept chipping away.

    If our offense can get to half that kind of resiliency this week, we will be fine this postseason.......

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    If we win tomorrow( or lose and brew lose) and Monday win, we will be off Tuesday.

    Personally I think thats what we want to cheer for and to happen.

    We want nothing to do w a win or go home game w our Heckyl Jeckyl Offense.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I get frustrated when fans that have watched baseball for 40 years are accused of being on the ledge. I've been watching baseball longer than most here have been on the site. I call them like I see them. I call out the good but I also call out the bad. Here's the reality, the Cubs are short handed, with Russel out and Bryant weakened and rusty. They are down their closer AND their back up closer. Milwaukee is hot and has the "it factor". The Cubs continue to be grossly inconsistent on offense. There is a good chance the Cubs are playing in the Wildcard game on Tuesday !!

    All that being said, this team is NOT OUT OF IT. I never said they were. They have the experience to pull out a win on Tuesday and even beat Milwaukee in the first round (after the wildcard). I am not throwing in the towel on the season and despite how nasty my playoff beard looks every year, I'm hoping to grow it until November.

    Go Cubs !!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Agreed. I wouldn’t mind playing dodgers in wild card. Cubs win that, like you said they end up playing brewers anyway and the cubs eliminate their biggest competition any ways. Brewers can be had.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    There is the possibility of a game Monday.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Fans can fan anyway they want. I just mentioned the sense of impending doom. Listen to talk radio; read Twitter. Maddon is taking a beating, and the Cubs suck. But I didn't say anyone is wrong for feeling that way. I'm trying to do the opposite.

    (Almost) Every point you make is true. Russell is out and Bryant is weak. Morrow is gone but I believe we'll see Strop Thursday. Everything has gone wrong, and you know what I think?

    W.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Like they say Twitter is for twits stick to cubsden!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Very wise words.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    A myth, spread by Disney; look it up.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Yes sir, an old nature film. I forget the name, but the crew were throwing the poor little critters over a cliff for footage. PETA would have a fit!

    Treebeard, my friend, I want to apologize for the other night. I was trying to moderate a couple points of view. I think we should all be ourselves. John said no politics, and that's one rule we all need to honor. You have my utmost respect, you've always been kind and respectful to everyone. That's what counts. Cheers!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thank you for the kind words, apology accepted.......

  • Anyway Q pitches on short rest?

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    If the Cubs win a game on Monday, they wouldn’t have to play Tuesday.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    My (very optimistic) guess? We win tomorrow. Brewers lose. We host the winner of the WC game on Thursday.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Your dreaming, but I like that dream.

    Personally I think both of us win or both of us lose tomorrow.

    Bolls's guy Q shuts the Crew down Monday at Wrigley and we win the Division!!

    Then we host the winner of Brew Dodgers/Rock Pile game Thursday.

    Everyone ready?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That’s where I’m at as well. Of course I know all the different scenarios & “ifs”.

    Cubs dot com says Monty goes tomorrow. But here’s hoping Lester’s not needed. And please, Joe, don’t bring him in with any runners on if he is. Let him start the inning fresh.

    I like Q going if needed Monday. He’s been dialed in against the Brewers.

    Tomorrow, Go Cubs & Tigers!!

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    I agree 100%. Monday would be a HUGE game, but its not a win or go home so I am more then happy w Q starting that.

    If its a win or go home scenario. I want Lester or Hendricks on the bump.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yes. The games all seem lined up perfectly for our rotation no matter the scenario. No matter what, though, we can hope for the best case which is the Cubs & Tigers both victorious today!! Positive vibes only.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    This depends entirely on which offense shows up. That's the frustration that is the 2018 Cubs. Can they? Absolutely! Will they????

  • The Magic Number for clinching the division unfortunately remains at 2.

    This will be my last Magic Number post. I had hoped that my last one would have been earlier this week, but alas.

    You all know the scenarios, no need to rehash them. Our Cubs, MIL, LAD, and COL are all in the playoffs, who plays whom and when and where they play will be determined in 4 games today.

    I hope you all enjoyed the Countdown. Let’s do it again in 2019!

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks for the numbers, CFIN.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks for all you've done. Of course, there is a number of games to win for the WS. You can always give us that countdown number.
    Thanks again.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    No, you do not get off that easily, my friend. I know that maintaining the official countdown is stressful and tiring, but you will have all winter to recuperate.

    As Jonathan said, you have once again been annointed to maintain the "Official Wins to WS Champs" countdown. After today, I think it starts at either 11 or 12.

    :)

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Isaid yesterday that the Cubs needed to win 96 games in either 162 or 163 games, that still stands. They got best because Hamels left two change ups in the hitting zone that good hitters put the ball in the OF off the end of the bat while the offense hit line drives at persons or deep fly balls to the warning track against the wind. That is baseball. When the season comes down to success or not in the final few games I don't get emotional, it just is that players have to make their plays, the ones who don't lose. BTW watched the Rockies get smashed so now the MLB has the joy of two meaningful games today.

    As for the Cards, they are smitten but beatabe and the Tigers are playing Milwaukee tough.

  • It is pretty amazing and cool that 161 games later and 6 months later we have 2 divisions tied!!!!!

    Can someone tell me before mlb split to 3 divisions how many times was there a tie at the end of the season?

  • 1, We better win today. Losing two to the Cardinals to lose the division will be tough to take. So let's at least win this one, no matter what comes next.

    2. What comes next: I just don't see the Brewers losing to the Tigers, who are terrible. Do any of you see that meatball Yelich homered for the winning run. Biggest meatball ever.

    3. So we need to win today to get to a one-on-one GM163 showdown with the Brewers. And that's gonna be awesome!

    4. Yelich v. Javy! Mano A Mano! For all the marbles!

    5. Why doesn't baseball use head-to-head records for the tie breaker?

    6. I am depressed. On opening day I was (only somewhat facetiously) saying we're gonna win 117 games this year. Yes, injuries all over the place. But its not just the injuries. Rizzo way underperformed for two months. The SP way underperformed for three months. KB is not gonna be the Trout-like superstars we all envisioned. He's good, not great. Schwarber is what he is: a mediocre slugger, not the next great power hitter we all envisioned. Contreras: Huge disappointment offensively. Expected so much more. Russell? Almost glad his ex-wife made the decision for Theo, but even before that, he too has been a tremendous disappointment offensively. Happ stinks. Expected so much more from so many.

    7. I've seen enough. Theo needs to move on from some of these formerly beloved prospects who were gonna dominate for years. At a minimum, get me Machado! And what the heck, get Harper too! Oh, a closer who is not made of china. And, damn it, Theo needs to order Joe to play Almora everyday!

    8. Yes. Depressed. And pissed.

    9. But, wait. We can still win Monday and if not we can win Tuesday and if we get to the NLDS anything can happen. Right? Am I Right????!!!!!!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Good honest post

  • In reply to TTP:

    1. It could be worse - you could be a Cardinals fan - "We lose to the Cubs last year and get eliminated. We beat the Cubs this year and still get eliminated."

  • In reply to TTP:

    Thanks!!

    Point 5 — yes, this has to be the stupidest rule which an outdated view. To make a team play another game puts the loser at a serious disadvantage. They play something like 18-20 games against their division. Head to head record should matter.

  • In reply to TTP:

    1. I agree w/Tommy.

    2. We can still “hope” the Tigers help. I also love Javy, but Yelich is the MVP. Braun is the “Meatball” w/a capital “M”.

    5. I agree it should be changed. But think of the $$$$ they’ll make. Follow the money.

    6. Agree, there have been more than a few disappointments.

    7. Move on from which disappointing players & to who? Yes, I’d like Machado. But so do some other big spenders. That’s 1. Harper? Again, others will be seeking him as well. Can they, will they try for both? If they can’t get 1 or both, then who?

    8. Yes. It ain’t over til it’s over & until Cub fan in Norway says it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    Prediction: Cubs win 3-1. Tigers win 5-4.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    2. Yellich deserves extra credit for having to share the same clubhouse with Braun 162+ days per year.

    8. You probably need to go back and check your history book on which country bombed Pearl Harbor.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    8. You should probably see the movie Animal House.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    8. Thank You! Saved me from saying it... Ha Ha.

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    In reply to TTP:

    I think head to head used to be the tiebreaker if both teams had clinched playoff spots, didn’t it? I didn’t realize it had changed until this week.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    I believe that change was just made going into this season.

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    In reply to TTP:

    Great Post.

    Agree w most of everything, except #5

    I am glad they don't use head2head records. Imagine playing 162 games and lose the division because of a series in april or so you get swept because your team was injured or playing poorly.

    I like the way they do the tie breakers. Decide the division on the field because playing that do or die game is a place you do not want to be in.

  • I want the Dodgers gone....period.
    I think the Cubs beat any other team left after that to get to the WS.

    I gotta hand it to the Brewers though, they turned it on at the end when teams have to.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    The difference is the “luck” they play into. Their expected wins is 5 lower than where they are. The Cubs expected wins is one ahead of where we are.

    That is exactly what I thought would happen that the Cubs would be about 5-7 games ahead of the Brewers. They have over-performed and have 32 wins in 1 run games. Only 1 other team has over 30 wins in 1 run games.

    Brewers are lucky, period. And we are going to have to end their luck.

  • Allow me to make my final Robo-Ump Rant of the season:

    The umpiring this year has been typical -- hard working plate umps given an impossible job to do. I could point to many instances where umpiring mistakes cost teams games, not just the Cubs, but every team in MLB. I would suggest that teams that are riveted on strike zone recognition (for both hitters and pitchers) are harmed the most, because incorrect umpiring negates a valid baseball skill.
    I was trained as a scientist, and it was drummed into me that the search for scientific truth requires eliminating "noise" from experiments. In baseball, umpiring mistakes are noise, which detracts from accurately measuring the underlying skills of the players (ultimately measures in Ws and Ls). For the game to be "pure", noise must be eliminated wherever possible, as MLB recognizes by implementing review of many umpiring decisions. Calling balls & strikes is the obvious next area requiring review and change, and I hope that MLB soon recognizes this and puts its full resources into correcting this problem ASAP.
    End of rant -- to be continued next season....

  • In reply to wthomson:

    I agree that there needs to be a solution. There is too much subjectivity & not enough consistency from 1 umpire, let alone from ump to ump... But I doubt it ever happens. $$$

  • Tigers lost 6-5 both games, blew leads both games. I'm not too encouraged by their starter today but I'm optimistic person and hope the 3rd time can be the charm anything can happen in baseball. Trust me I know it's a long shot just having some hope.

    But the cubs need to win today and they're facing much tougher starter or game 163 won't be necessary

  • Looks as if they will have a 10 minute headstart on us today......hopefully unlike the last 2 days we will get to see exactly where things stand......means nothing I guess but.....it may help.

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    The Belushi reference must have eluded some people but very appropriate for a day that's gonna end with the Cubs and the Bears both in first place!

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