Football is here, but remember that there’s still baseball to be played and even though the Cubs are eliminated from postseason play now, we should still pay attention to the pennant races as they sort themselves out over the final two weeks of the MLB regular season. The playoffs should be very exciting as well, and someday soon (we hope!) the Cubs will be back there in October playing for that long-awaited championship.
Here is the recap of the last series vs. the Pirates, the final time the Cubs and Pirates will face each other this year:
Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park
Pirates 7, Cubs 3
W: Cole (9-5) L: Wada (4-3)
The losing streak continued for the Cubs as they fell 7-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The only bright spots were that Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara each hit solo homers. Jordy Mercer drove in three runs to back Gerrit Cole as the Pirates handed the Cubs their seventh straight loss extending the streak that started one week ago in a defeat at Wrigley Field to the Pirates. This is the Cubs’ longest losing streak since a seven-game stretch on September 22-29, 2012. Cole gave up five hits and three runs while walking one and striking out six over six innings. Tsuyoshi Wada had a shorter outing for the Cubs. He pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up four runs on nine hits, walked two and struck out two.
Cubs 6, Pirates 4
W: Doubront (4-5) L: Locke (7-5) SV: Rondon (24)
Felix Doubront had a great outing for the Cubs. Doubront was acquired from the Red Sox on July 30th and on Saturday he picked up his second win in his third start with the Cubs. He pitched six shutout innings while allowing four hits, walked one and struck out one. He led the Cubs to a 6-4 win over the Pirates, to end the Cubs losing streak at seven games. The Cubs have struggled offensively during the seven-game losing streak, the six runs they scored Saturday, were the most scored since their last win on September 3rd over the Brewers. Arismendy Alcantara singled to lead off the third inning against Pirates’ starter Jeff Locke, and Javier Baez followed with his ninth home run to go up 2-0. Locke pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits, walked three and struck out five. Matt Szczur also hit a homer of his own and this was his first Major League blast. It was not an easy finish as the Pirates got three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth. Russell Martin doubled with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and Travis Snider hit a leadoff homer in the ninth for the Pirates but Rondon was able to close it out and earn his 24th save.
Pirates 7, Cubs 3
W: Volquez (12-7) L: Turner (5-10)
The Cubs have never beaten Edinson Volquez and Sunday was no different as the right-hander improved to 7-0 lifetime against the Cubs. The Pirates were trailing and then the momentum changed after turning the first triple plain in PNC Park history in the fourth inning. Matt Szczur was at the plate and smacked the ball to Josh Harrison at third base to start the first triple play the Cubs have hit into since May 14, 2000, at Montreal. Harrison drove in two runs and Neil Walker hit a homer that started the six run fifth inning for the Pirates. The Cubs are definitely missing the offensive help from Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler, Rizzo and Castro are still out with injuries and Soler is out on paternity leave. Jacob Turner pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up all seven runs on seven hits and walked three. Volquez pitched seven innings allowing three runs on four hits, walked five and struck out five. The Cubs ended their road trip 1-5 but this was the last time the Pirates will beat them…well, at least until next season starts!
The Cubs return Monday for the final home stand of the season, starting with a three game series vs. the Cincinnati Reds. The final loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates means that the Cubs are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, so now it’s purely development time and waiting for next year. Here are the upcoming game times and probable pitchers:
Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field
Monday, September 15, 7:05 PM CDT
Chicago TV: CSN+
Tuesday, September 16, 7:05 PM CDT
Chicago TV: WGN
Wednesday, September 17, 7:05 PM CDT
Chicago TV: CSN
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!