To 163 We Go -- Cubs 10, Cardinals 5

It was a bullpen day for the Cubs on Sunday. Nine total pitchers were used in what would normally be the last game of the regular season, but with both the Cubs and Brewers winning their matches, we’ll have a game 163 at Wrigley tomorrow.

Matt Carpenter led off with a double against Cubs starter Mike Montgomery and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from José Martínez. Carpenter scored on a single from Paul DeJong, who was forced out at second on the next at-bat from Tyler O’Neill, who made it to first. O’Neill then scored on a single from Patrick Wisdom and the Cardinals ended the top of the first ahead 2-0.

The Cubs responded with a leadoff walk from Daniel Murphy, but no runs would be scored off of Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty in the home half of the first. Ben Zobrist lined out to right and Javier Báez grounded into a forceout with Murphy out at second. Anthony Rizzo singled to right and Báez was out at home on the throw from Martínez in right field.

Allen Webster replaced Montgomery in the third inning after Martínez lined out and DeJong doubled. O’Neill struck out looking, followed by a hit by pitch to Wisdom. Harrison Bader flew out to right for the third out.

Victor Caratini pinch hit for Webster and struck out swinging for the second out of the third. Murphy followed with a double to center, and Zobrist tripled to right, scoring Murphy. Zobrist then scored on a wild pitch with Báez batting. Báez walked and came around to score on a double from Rizzo. Kris Bryant was then intentionally walked, and Chasen Shreve replaced Flaherty on the mound for the Cardinals. He faced Jason Heyward, who singled and scored Rizzo. The Cubs ended the inning winning by 4-2.

Webster was replaced by Alec Mills for the fourth and worked a 1-2-3 inning. Yairo Muñoz  struck out looking, Francisco Peña grounded out to short, and pinch-hitter Adolis García struck out swinging.

Austin Gomber replaced Shreve and walked Willson Contreras. Mills bunt popped out to Peña in foul territory, Murphy filed out to right, and Zobrist struck out looking for the third out.

The Cubs tacked on four more in the fifth inning. Báez led off with a single and Rizzo followed with a double, Báez to third. Bryant then hit a double to left to score Báez and Rizzo. Albert Almora, Jr pinch hit for Kyle Schwarber and flew out to right. Contreras hit his first home run since August 1st to bring the score to 8-2. It appeared the ball may have hit the tape and thus was not a home run, but the play was not officially reviewed. Further video replays within the broadcast showed that it hit the scoreboard first and then bounced off the tape.

The outfield shuffled around with Almora staying in at center, Heyward moved from center to right, and Zobrist moved from right to left field for the top of the sixth. Wisdom led off with a double and Bader walked, and Carl Edwards, Jr was then tapped to replace Mills. Wisdom advanced to third on a wild pitch from Edwards and Muñoz batting. Muñoz hit a two RBI single and the Cardinals were now trailing by 8-4. After walking pinch-hitter Greg Garcia, Edwards was pulled for Randy Rosario. Rosario got the final out of the inning on a groundout from Carpenter.

Tyler Webb pitched for the Cardinals in the sixth and struck out Murphy and induced a flyout from Zobrist. Báez hit his 40th double of the season, followed by a walk to Rizzo. Dakota Hudson then came in to pitch in place of Webb. Báez scored when Hudson couldn’t handle the throw at first from Carpenter (it was scored an error on Hudson). Heyward walked to load the bases and Almora scored Rizzo on a cracked-bat infield hit to third. The third out came on a swinging strikeout from Contreras and the inning would end with the Cubs up 10-4.

New Cubs pitcher Brandon Kintzler entered the game in the seventh, along with David Bote, who entered at third base. Bryant shifted to left and Zobrist moved to second base. Kintzler loaded the bases with two outs and was pulled for Steve Cishek. Muñoz was hit by a pitch at the belt and the score came to 10-5. The Cardinals were held to one run with the third out coming on a swinging strikeout from Peña.

Tommy La Stella led off the seventh for the Cubs, pinch-hitting in Cishek’s spot, against Daniel Poncedeleon. He struck out swinging, followed by groundouts to second base by Bote and Zobrist.

Jaime García pitched for the Cubs in the seventh and got a flyout from pinch-hitter Edmundo Sosa. Carpenter bounced to first and the play was recovered by Zobrist after the ball deflected off of Rizzo’s glove, who flipped it to García covering the base. O’Neill flew out to right field to end the inning.

Mike Meyers was the seventh pitcher to enter the game for the Cardinals and faced Báez leading off, who grounded out to first. Rizzo hit a single to right and was 4-for-4 at that point, but the inning ended after Bryant grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

The ninth Cubs pitcher to take the mound was Jorge De La Rosa in the ninth. He struck out Wisdom and Bader, then walked Muñoz. The final out of the game came on a flyout to right from Peña and the Cubs won 10-5. The division title will be decided tomorrow afternoon at 12:05 PM CST.

 

WPA CHART


Source: FanGraphs

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  • I have more anxiety about tomorrow’s game than I did before the first time a boy first kissed me. That worked out just fine. so......BRING IT ON!

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    And to Ryan Braun and Christian Yelich.....we WILL not be denied the division title.

    Who will start tomorrow?

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    Big Win from the boys.

    Now Q has to step up big tomorrow and along w some help from the Offense and carry us to the division title tomorrow afternoon.

    Hopefully after Q vaults us into the #1 seed, he will no longer be personal non grata around these parts.

    Boy tomorrow is going to be nerve racking

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    But if he doesn't....

  • One game playoff

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Big start for Q this could be a cub career legacy changing postseason run if he can get hot for October. I can care less about if he had an up and down but not bad regular season if he steps it up in big games. We're all Rooting for him

  • Great win and awesome to see the bats come alive today, but so frustrating watching Edwards. He comes in with a 6 run lead, throws a wild pitch to have 2 runners move up to 2nd and 3rd, and then promptly gives up a hit, making it 8-4. Then after getting the double play ball, he walks the next batter. He needs to come in for a clean inning, no way he can be trusted inheriting runners on base. Huge game for Quintana tomorrow. I've been one of his most vocal critics, but here's hoping he puts together a great game. He was sensational last year against the Nationals in Game 3 of the DS. It's in him to be dominant. Let's go cubs!

  • In reply to Bill Buckner #22:

    Quintana has had one bad outing against the Brewers, the last one. He will bounce back and should be effective. This my belief and I’m sticking to it!

  • Q.

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    We can win tomorrow, especially playing here. I'm still amazed that we're disappointed with a 95 win season.
    Going 6-4 in the last 10 games is a .640 average, but who saw Milw going 9-1? these are 2 very good teams meeting for possibly the eventual NL championship. Stop Yelich and stop them. Easy.
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don't think anyone is disappointed with a 95 win season. The disappointment is having to play a 1 game playoff.
    6 - 4 is 600 average

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm not disappointed at all of course I'd like to have already clinched but like you said these are 2 very good teams. We beat our vegas over/under win total from the preseason so it's hard for me to complain when we're meeting win/loss projections

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The "disappointment," for me, is the thought that if the Cubs offense had showed up in any ONE of the games they were absent from, today would be a day of rest and preparation for the first game of the NLDS. 95 wins is great, but it took blowing a 5-game division lead to get here. Props to Milwaukee for their never-quit attitude - they've earned it. Still, one more stinkin' win from the Cubs...
    If the Cubs go all the way, the need for a one-game playoff will be just a stutter-step on the way to glory. Here's hoping that's the case!

  • That was fun, huh?

    The Brewers haven't announced a SP yet, but that should come soon. Chacin makes sense, he's on normal rest and has pitched well against us this year, especially at Wrigley. Of course they could go to the pen early, which wouldn't be a bad thing as long as we take care if business. Wear 'em out for that WC game!

    Quintana has been announced, and after all the bad luck we've had this season, this could be a favorable bounce. Based on performance, he's probably #4 right now. But he's lined up on normal rest and we know how he handles the Crew. He has shut down all their big bats save Cain, and Yelich is something like 1-11 with 3 K's. He is our best option for this matchup and hopefully saves our bigger arms for other games. It really couldn't have lined up better.

    We needed this win and we got it. We need a win tomorrow and we'll get it. I shouldn't have to ask, but just to be sure...

    Thank you! May I have another?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    On a funny side note, I've seen some remarks on various social media outlets from Milwaukee fans and organizations. They are pushing fans to buy up our tickets, trying to mobilize a Brew Crew army to invade Wrigley the way we routinely invade Miller Park. That is pathetic on their end and hilarious on ours.

    Good luck with that...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Nothing wrong with it. Good for them. Should be a great atmosphere.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes You May!!

  • I only saw Baez swing at one bad pitch. They were clued in and focused, the slip by Heyward is another defensive miscue since coming back. Rizzo and Zo seemed to lead the offense with Bryant contributing in the doubles's fest.

    Tomorrow the grind continues where the Cubs will have played 40 games in 41 days. Adrenaline will be flowing for both teams, but cool heads will be in order.

    Playoff experience will mean something all the Cubs will have it outside of Caratini, Bote, and some in the bullpen. Quintana will have confidence stepping to the mound on pitch one.

    I heard Counsel saying that it is not important to go all in tomorrow since if they do and lose they have to play the next day if they lose.

    Overall Cubs rotation sets up with if they lose they have Lester for Tuesday but if they win they have only Tues and Weds off, which still sets up Lester, Hendricks, Hamels and Quintana.

    Got to make the plays.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Good point on what Counsel said. Maddon made very similar comments, equating it to managing two games in one. Scoring early will be critically important tomorrow. That's the biggest thing to keep an eye on, IMO. If one team pulls away early, it is possible, even likely, the other starts to shut it down to conserve bullets for the WC game.

    Score early. Score often. Then get some much-needed and well-rested rest.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    "Well-deserved rest". Damn phone.

    Now that I think about it, that could be another big advantage for us. We can be more aggressive with our pen than they can. If we lose and have to play the WC, we have Lester, who very well could go deep and not need much help. They don't have that luxury. They lack starting pitching and rely heavily on their pen. They cannot risk burning it out in a non-elimination game.

  • This is why Joe pulled Q early last start. Theo and Jed get as much credit as anyone with the numerous pickups for the stretch. Who would have guessed so many key additions and retreads like De La Rosa and Garcia. Interesting year and maybe the best is yet to come.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    LOL. Sure it is.

  • Bonus baseball! Let's go get a win tomorrow!

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    When we win tomorrow I doubt that CJ is on the playoff roster. Whatever is going on with him let him take the off-season to work on it. Gore has to be but pick another pitcher.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    How do you see the playoff pen? 11 or 12? The only way I see Gore making it is with only 11 pitchers. 4 starters, Monty to pen, Cishek, Chavez, Wilson, DeLa Rosa, Mills & Strop for sure. That’s 11 pitchers. Murphy, Zo, Javy, KB, Rizz, Schwarber, Heyward, Almora, Contreras, Caratini, Happ, LaStella, Bote. That’s 13 positional players. Room for 1 more. Either Gore or another pitcher. I say Maddon wants 12 pitchers & it’s CJ. If he wants Gore, then Bote or LaStella are out...

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    That bullpen looks scary when you list it like that.

    Our offense is going to have to carry us. I don't see us winning too many 1-0, 2-1, 2-0 games this post season.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I disagree - the Cubs starting pitching has been the best in baseball for awhile. I think they will win a lot of low scoring games.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I hope your right, but w Joe pulling our strength ( starters) after 5 or 6 innings. I just can't expect or even dream of a scenario where our pen gets 9-12 outs every game we win w out giving up any runs.

    I think the games we win, our offense will have to score 4+

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    The bright side is that Strop will be fresh & Wilson has been pitching well of late. Chavez has also been getting the job done since coming over. And we’re adding Monty to it. But all facets of the team need to be playoff caliber going forward.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    CJ will be on the roster.

  • The bullpen guys that I thought would get rocked (Mills and Webster) didn’t. And guys who should be ready to go struggled today.

    Even tho we won by 5 it was much much closer then that especially late in game when STL had a chance.

    All 4 teams that needed to win put up big offensive numbers today. Should be warmer this week so hope that helps our hitters.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I am not sure we want an offensive environment. We have the better starting pitching and defense, so maybe we want to play in a depressed run environment? I am not sure, but thats the way I lean now.

    I think low scoring games favor us vs the Brewers and Rockies. We have 4 legit starters, 3 with rings. Nobody can match that kind of fire power.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I agree we have better part of rotation lined up. And honestly nobodies rotation scares me. It maybe a postseason where the offense is ahead of the defense????? Might be a lot of 8-7 games.

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    We keep them in the ball park and limit the free passes, I think we will have a great chance to win this game.

    There offense sort of reminds me of ours last year where they depend on a lot of long balls. Yea, they can score in other ways but the HR is a big weapon for them.

    Hopefully Q can keep them in the park and limit the walks. If he does, I like our chances.

    Miley turned back into a pumpkin and sooner or later Chacin will too

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I would mind walking Yelich 3 times.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Would or wouldn't mind walking Yelich 3 times? I'd only Intentionally walk him if there's guys on base or it's a critical situation. Otherwise pitch very carefully to him & not throw him any meatballs.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I wouldn’t. I’d give him the Harper treatment from a year or 2 ago.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Gotcha. I just looked at the matchups and Braun is the only one in their lineup that has lit up Q. Plus Braun has been taking this past month. I'm starting to be more worried about him than Yelich & Aguilar.
    Hopefully the Cubs bats are HOT today. And not for just 1 or 2 innings. All 9.

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Raking, not taking

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Today would be a great day for that Chacin = pumpkin thing...

  • I hope people get off Joe's back. This has been his best job of managing this team.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Not a chance. Too many arm-chair managers.

  • We won’t know for a few hours but Brewers media seems to think they’ll go with a bullpen day given their lack of success against Q and the fact that the real must win is tomorrow.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Chacin was just announced this morning. It really doesn't matter, he could only go an inning or he could go 8. Let's put up some early crooked numbers and make them wave the white flag.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Let's put up crooked #'s early, middle, and late. If we are up early, keep the pedal to the medal. I get your point, but the Brewer's aren't going to wave the white flag.

  • Roster-
    Starters- Q, Lester, Hendricks, Hamels
    LH Relief- Monty, Wilson, DeLerosa or Rosario (take your pick)
    RH Relief- CJ, Chavez, Cishek, Strop
    Catchers- Carrot, Willy
    INF- Riz, Murphy, Baez, Bote, Tommy, Zo, KB
    OF- Schwarbs, Almora, Jhey, Happ

    Don't think there is room for Gore..

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    You listed 24 who’s your 25th?

  • Today could be a huge day for 2 players that I have not been drinking the Koolaid on. I do not dislike Q in any way, but his inconsistency drives me insane. With that being said, today's outing will go a long way in determining how he is viewed at as a Cub from a historical perspective (like it or not). #2 is Baez. This last week, when it has mattered most, he has not come through. His KO's in Sept have been alarming, including a ton in his last 7 games. BUT............. he has a chance to be a hero today or at least a big part of this team's chances of winning. He has done VERY well this year and what better way to finish the regular season then carrying this team on his shoulders??!!

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    Javy had good AB's the last 2 games, especially yesterday. Hopefully he doesn't press and he just let's himself be himself. I'm more worried about Schwarber than Baez or Q. It would be nice for postseason Kyle to show up big today.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Sorry but I disagree on Baez he's had an MVP caliber year, made the all star team, and was the NL MVP of the 2016 NL playoffs. What does he have to prove really? It's amazing to me how people turn on him every time he has a bad week I can care less if he has ugly AB's at times with what he brings to the table overall. Quintana I agree this is a big start to even begin to change the negative perception of him

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Don't be sorry. I appreciate your opinion and feedback. Javy has indeed had an incredible season. I just need to see him do it when it counts (which I admit he did in the first 2 rounds of 2016). I, for one, have no confiendence when he comes up to the plate when the game is on the line. I want very badly for him to prove me wrong.

  • Contreras is back.

  • 95 wins has been an extremely good accomplishment and season.
    Where would we have wound up with if all things went as planned this spring? What if Darvish had a good year? Chatwood etc?
    The Cubs would have easily been over 100.

    387 wins in the last 4 regular seasons.....wow!

    It could go either way today....come on Cubs.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    If all things had gone as planned they don't get Hamels, Chavez, Murphy, etc. They won 3 more games than last year. I think if you had said this team would win 95 games out of spring training you would have taken it.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agreed. I had them at 94 wins

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