The Cubs are on a bus or a charter plane to Milwaukee right now for tonight's series, but we have a bit of a sad as this means no more Cubs games in Chicago this year. Sometime soon, the Cubs and the city of Chicago will start digging holes and actively renovating Wrigley Field, so we'll have a different look on the outside, but the views will still be the same except for the new left field video screen and some other signs. Woo!
Without further ado, as the 2014 season winds down, here's the last home stand at old Wrigley Field, soon to become newer Wrigley...
Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, Wrigley Field
Dodgers 8, Cubs 4
W: Rodríguez (1-0) L: Ramírez (2-3)
The Cubs knew that it would be a challenge to go up against the Dodgers when they came into Wrigley Field on Thursday night. It seemed as though the Cubs might pull off the win leading 4-1 going into the seventh inning. The Dodgers came from behind with a five-run seventh to back Zack Greinke and his rough outing. The Dodgers had two on and one out in the seventh. The inning could have ended in a double play but Logan Watkins couldn’t get a handle on Juan Uribe’s hit. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier followed with an RBI double, and another run scored on a groundout by pinch-hitter Justin Turner to tie the game at four. Dee Gordon followed with an RBI double and he scored on Yasiel Puig’s single. Dodgers starter Zack Greinke allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings while throwing 112 pitches. Tsuyoshi Wada made his last start for the Cubs who will be sending rookie Eric Jokisch in their final games in his place. Wada gave up one run on five hits and struck out five over five innings. Two of the Cubs runs came from Jorge Soler and the others were RBIs from Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt.
Dodgers 14, Cubs 5
W: Kershaw (20-3) L: Jackson (6-15)
Edwin Jackson made his return to the Cubs rotation but it didn’t last as long as he had wanted. Jackson was unable to make it out of the first inning as he gave up five earned runs, four hits and a walk on 35 pitches before being pulled. This was his first start since August 20th after spending a month on the disabled list with a right lat strain and his 15th loss in 27 starts. This was his last start as he has since been relegated to the bullpen until the Cubs can figure out what to do with him this winter. Jackson faced seven batters and was ahead of most of them but he just wasn’t able to close them out. Matt Kemp was the player who scored the first few RBIs as he sent a 1-2 fastball into the bleachers. In total, Jackson ended with a line of five runs on four hits and walked one on 2/3 of an inning. Jokisch and the rest of the Cubs bullpen allowed an additional nine runs on nine hits over the remaining 8 1/3 innings. The Dodgers offensive power was on full display as they hit four homers. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig each hit one and A.J. Ellis had a two-homer night. Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher this year to reach 20 wins despite having tied for his second shortest outing in his 25 starts this season. He ended with a line of three earned runs on seven hits, three walks and nine strikeouts.
Cubs 8, Dodgers 7
W: Grimm (5-2) L: Wilson (2-4) SV: Rondon (26)
Even though it might not mean much and even though the Cubs won’t be playing in October, Saturday’s comeback win was a great one. The Cubs rallied from a five-run deficit for an 8-7 win at Wrigley Field. Chris Coghlan went 4-for-4 with two homers, his second giving the Cubs the lead in the eighth off Brian Wilson after Arismendy Alcantara's three-run blast in the seventh. Coghlan has really stepped in nicely into the leadoff man role. He is hitting .238/.349/.449 with 39 extra base hits and 45 runs scored. He nearly hit for the cycle as he was a triple shy but I’m sure that he would have taken the home run instead. The Cubs were trailing 6-1 heading into the seventh but scored four runs on a single by Anthony Rizzo and a three-run homer by Arismendy Alcantara to tie the game at six. Cubs’ starter Felix Doubront allowed six runs on six hits and walked three in 2 1/3 innings. The Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez accounted for five of the runs as he hit two homers in his first two at bats. After Doubront exited the game, Cubs’ relievers: Carlos Villanueva, Blake Parker, Wesley Wright and Justin Grimm allowed a combined one earned run on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts the rest of the game. Hector Rondon was able to shut down the Dodgers heavy hitters in Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp to earn his 26th save of the season. Not only was this a great game to be at but it was also a great day for me. I won the chance of a lifetime which included meeting Cubs Hall Of Famer Billy Williams.
Dodgers 8, Cubs 5
W: Perez (1-3) L: Turner (5-11) SV: Jansen (43)
The Dodgers had no problem scoring runs this series and that’s what happens when you have such a high-powered offense. Matt Kemp led the team to another victory as he had four RBIs which included a two-run homer. The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first as Yasiel Puig singled and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's double. Adrian Gonzalez scored one out later on Hanley Ramirez's double. The Cubs cut their lead in half and made it 2-1 on Chris Coghlan's RBI single in the second against Jamey Wright. Jacob Turner is no stranger to the Dodger’s offense as he had previously faced them. Sunday, he pitched a total of five innings and gave up four earned runs on eight hits and struck out three. Jamey Wright was the first of six Dodger pitchers to come into the game. He only pitched two innings and gave up one run on three hits, walked two and struck out two. The Cubs did make it interesting towards the end as Welington Castillo leadoff the eighth with his 12th homer. The Cubs also put two on with nobody out in the ninth against Kenley Jansen, but he was able to strike out Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo grounded out and then Luis Valbuena struck out to end the game.
Then, the Cardinals came into town...
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, Wrigley Field
Cardinals 8, Cubs 0
W: Wainwright (20-9) L: Wood (8-13)
Adam Wainwright vs. Travis Wood. Just knowing that we knew that it wouldn’t be and easy task for the Cubs to get a win against the Cardinals. Wainwright pitched seven scoreless innings, gave up three hits and struck out eight for his 20th win. Travis Wood was making his final start of the year. He served up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and struck out eight over five innings of work. Wood finished the season with a 5.03 ERA in his 31 starts. He totaled 200 innings last year and came up short this year with 173 2/3. He posted 24 quality starts in 2013 but just 13 this season. The start seemed promising for Wood as he held the Cards to one hit and struck out five in the first three innings but it was only a matter of time until St. Louis got it going. Eight Cards came up to the plate in the fourth and ended up scoring four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Jon Jay had three RBIs to back Wainwright and the Cards.
Cubs 4, Cardinals 3
W: Rosscup (1-0) L: Neshek (7-2)
Welington Castillo hit a two-run homer in the second inning and a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the 10th to help the Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals. With the score tied at 3, Anthony Rizzo hit a one-out double off the base of the wall in right-center and advanced to third on a groundout by Jorge Soler. Luis Valbuena was intentionally walked to get to Castillo, who drove the ball into the right-center gap to score Rizzo for the walk-off. It was the Cubs' seventh walk-off win this season and first since Rizzo homered September 15th against the Reds. Cardinals’ starter Shelby Miller entered the game 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in four September starts, but lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits. The Cardinals got on the board in the sixth with an RBI groundout by Jon Jay to make it 3-1. Hendricks then left a 2-2 pitch out over the plate to Holliday, which he hit into the left-field bleachers for his 20th. homer of the season to tie the score. Kyle Hendricks pitched 5 1/3 innings giving up three run on five hits and struck out four. He isn't done yet. He is scheduled for one more start on Sunday against the Brewers at Miller Park for the series finale.
Cubs 3, Cardinals 1
W: Arrieta (10-5) L: Lackey (14-10) SV: Rondon (27)
Jake Arrieta, who is coming off a one-hit shutout against the Reds last week, limited St. Louis to two hits and an unearned run while striking out ten in seven innings, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory as they closed the home portion of the season. The Cardinals were held without a hit through four innings but got two singles in the fifth. Yadier Molina scored on Welington Castillo's throwing error (a tough error since it was a good throw but Javier Baez couldn't get into position), scoring the Cards lone run. This was Arrieta's fourth start against the Cardinals, and he held them to three earned runs over 22 1/3 innings for a 1.21 ERA. He outdueled St. Louis starter John Lackey on the mound and at the plate. Lackey intentionally walked Logan Watkins in the fourth inning but Arrieta made him pay as he hit a two-run triple, the first triple of his career and the first by a Cubs pitcher since Chris Rusin in 2012. Lackey gave up two runs on five hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings. Chris Valaika had a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth to extend the Cubs lead to 3-1 and it showed to be big as the Cardinals started a rally in the ninth but Hector Rondon worked out of the jam for his 13th consecutive save and his 27th in 31 opportunities this season. The Cubs ended with a Wrigley Field attendance of 2,652,113 for the season and had a winning record at home of 41-40. Looking ahead to Opening Day 2015, guess who they’ll face? Yep, the Cardinals. And maybe, Jake Arrieta could get the nod unless the Cubs decide to go shopping in the offseason.
Next up for the Cubs:
Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
* Both the Cubs and the Brewers will have to "Wait 'til next year" to hopefully be in the playoffs. They will be playing their final games in 2014 this weekend. The Brewers at least had a chance as they had a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL Central and standing 4 1/2 clear of a wild-card spot in mid-August. Things didn’t work out for them as they were officially eliminated from the postseason on Thursday with a 5-3 loss in Cincinnati. The Cubs will try to win the season series for the first time since 2010. They currently are 9-7 against Milwaukee but they've lost 26 of 33 games at Miller Park and four of six this year. Here are the upcoming game times and probable pitchers:
Friday, September 26, 7:10 PM CDT
Eric Jokisch, LHP vs. Jimmy Nelson, RHP
Saturday, September 27, 6:10 PM CDT
Tsuyoshi Wada, LHP vs. Wily Peralta, RHP
Sunday, September 28, 1:10 PM CDT
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Mike Fiers, RHP
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!