Pirates 9 @ Cubs 13
So I’m not repeating my double recap from last week – even though yesterday’s game wasn’t recapped, I have neither the time nor the interest to pick it up. Plus some things are just more important. Like my current recap win streak. I haven’t had to recap a Cubs loss since August 22nd. Considering they have only won 11 games since then and 6 of those have fallen to me; I don’t want to willingly break that streak.
Rizzo’s was having a stellar September already, but on Sunday he took it to another level. A two-run bomb in the 5th that pulled the Cubs to within 2 runs; then a grand slam (his first) in the 6th that put the Cubs ahead for good. Three hits, six RBIs and he pushed his average back to .300 for the year (up 18 points just since August 29th).
He was putrid today. Couldn’t throw strikes, couldn’t get outs when he did, for a while it looked like a mercy killing on the mound. Frankly, it should’ve been worse – 10 hits, 4 walks, but only 6 runs.
Because of the way that the two teams traded crooked innings in the 5th and 6th, I felt the most important inning today was actually the 8th. A game that was 3-1 after 9 outs, was broken wide open twice by the Pirates in the 5th and 6th but the Cubs fought back to have a 10-9 lead after six innings. It was the 8th inning that effectively Marmol-proofed this game for the Cubs. With one on and one out, Soriano dumped an RBI double into the RF corner. Two batters later with two on and two out, DeJesus stepped to the plate and scored both with a single to right. The Cubs had a four run lead that looked relatively safe, and would prove to be the final tally.
There were quite a few highlights on either side of the ball today. Sappelt and Castro teamed to throw out a runner at third; Chapman used the oft-maligned fake to third throw to first move and actually got an out with! Mather hit a bomb, and Beliveau got his first MLB win. I strongly encourage you to view the highlights at Cubs.com – even if it’s just to glance at Rizzo’s beastly grand slam to the RCF bleachers.
One More Win
This team needs one more win to avoid being, at least record-wise, the worst Cubs team in franchise history. Two more wins and they can let 1962 & 1966 continue as the only Cub teams with less than 60 wins (*162 game schedule). Dare I hope for five more wins, leaving us short of 100 losses. Let’s just get two first. Ok, one.
Just a quick rundown if you’re not checking the standings – only 15 games to go. The Giants, Reds, and Nationals have effectively won their divisions (though I suppose the Nats could collapse, they still wouldn’t miss the playoffs entirely). The Braves have a chokehold on a wild card spot. St. Louis holds the other, for now, with the Dodgers (1 GB) and inexplicably the Brewers (2.5 GB) on their heels. The Pirates (3 GB) and Phillies (4 GB) are next, but both need a whole lot of help to get there.
In the AL, none of the divisions are even close to settled. Only 6 of the 14 teams have really been eliminated. Almost any combination of the Yankees, Rays, Orioles, White Sox, Tigers, Rangers, A’s, and Angels could make the playoffs. With the league’s best record, the Rangers have one foot in the door. And it’s still conceivable that for all his maneuvering and extra wild cards,
Montgomery Burns Bud Selig will be sending home TWO teams who have better records than the the AL Central’s division winner. That would mean that before the White Sox or Tigers hosted a superior team in ALDS, three teams who also finished with better records in the AL would already be playing golf.