The Rundown: Arrieta Shuts Out Pirates, Cubs Advance to NLDS, Benches Clear

Last night was hands-down one of the most entertaining Cubs games I’ve ever seen.

With all the nerves building up to the matchup against the Pirates, the Cubs did exactly what they needed to do: Jump on Gerrit Cole early and have Jake Arrieta be on his game. Arrieta went the distance, not allowing a single run and giving up only four hits and striking out 11. The best part was that Arrieta didn’t even seem to have his best stuff.

He left some pitches up in the zone, and gave up some hard-hit balls. But the Cubs’ defense had his back. With the Pirates on the verge of flipping the momentum, the Cubs turned two huge double plays — one by Addison Russell and the other by Kris Bryant.

It was a bit ironic that the Cubs’ defense would come through in such a huge fashion after Joe Maddon went with an offense-first lineup.

On offense, it was all about the top of the order. Dexter Fowler had the game of his life, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a big home run. He led off the game with a single, stolen base and run scored — really setting the tone.

Batting behind him, Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a BOMB no-doubt home run hit out of PNC Park.

I’m so impressed with how the Cubs played in this game. After seeing two veteran teams crack under the pressure and be swept out of the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, I can’t believe this group of youngsters was able to keep its cool and beat possibly the best team in baseball.

Let’s enjoy this win. We now don’t have to worry about hearing any “The Cubs haven’t won a playoff game since 2003” garbage.

St. Louis is next, and that’s going to take a toll on us for sure.

Benches clear

After hitting a couple Pirate batters (not on purpose), Jake Arrieta was plunked by reliever Tony Watson in the 7th inning.

Benches cleared, and Pittsburgh utility man Sean Rodriguez was tossed for flipping out. But as always, the unflappable Arrieta prevailed with a cooler head.

His form of revenge: He decides to swipe second base. I really love Jake Arrieta.

Thumbs-down on the TBS broadcast

While I enjoyed the game immensely last night, I was not a fan of the TBS broadcast at all. Bad camera angles, lack of replays and a terribly inaccurate K-zone were just some of the downsides.

My biggest complaint: Kyle Schwarber hits an absolute bomb, but the broadcast never showed where the ball landed. And an attempt to show a ball-tracking of the home run failed.

The NLDS games will also be on TBS. I hope they can clean things up.

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