The Rundown: Bring on the Brewers, Quintana to Start Decisive Game, Cubs Did Not Choke

I cannot call in sick today, therefore I cannot participate in the mother of all baseball days. Yes, it’s come to this: Four teams now have a magic number of 1 after 162 games, so the National League will treat baseball fans to two Games 163 for the first time in MLB history.

The losers of these games will meet each other in the Wild Card game Tuesday. The Cubs and Brewers are also playing for the best record in the National League and home field advantage through the league championship series. The Cubs held a five-game lead over the Brewers at the start of the month and played at a .571 clip, so it’s not like they blew it. The Brewers played at an insane .678 ball to force the tie.

Jose Quintana will take the mound for the home team and the Brewers are waiting to make their decision. It could be either Jhoulys Chacin on regular rest or they could go with a full bullpen game and start Chase Anderson, Freddy Peralta or one of the regular relievers such as Brandon Woodruff or Corbin Burnes.

The most likely option is Chacin, but with a very short leash.

Quintana faced the Brewers twice in the last month, giving up two runs in the first start and none in the second.

Of note: Nine of the 19 meetings between the clubs featured a shutout — three by the Brewers and six by the Cubs. Also of note: The Cubs are 84-24 this season when scoring more than two runs. So a repeat of yesterday’s performance in a 10-5 win against the Cardinals should win the game.

As much as Joe Maddon has been criticized for his use of his pitching staff — he nearly broke the internet when he deployed Allen Webster in the third inning of yesterday’s contest — the Cubs are the only one of the four teams that play on Monday to have their rotation set, win or lose. If they lose today, Jon Lester pitches Tuesday on regular rest. If they win, Lester will be ready for Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday.

Cubs News & Notes

The last time the Cubs played a 163rd was in 1998, when they defeated the Giants 5-3 to advance to the NLDS against the Braves.

Because this one counts as a regular season game, all four teams playing today will be able to use expanded rosters. It also gives Brewers OF Christian Yelich one last opportunity to capture the Triple Crown, though the Cubs may opt to work around him considering the heater he has been on of late. That means they will have to be careful with Ryan Braun protecting Yelich.

Still, the Cubs have handled Yelich so far this year and are the only team that has been able to completely shut him down. He has hit just .175 (10-for-57) in 15 games vs. Chicago, with no home runs and only five RBI.

Webster needed just seven pitches to get his only win of the season. Before the Cubs selected his contract from Iowa on September 19, he had not appeared in a big-league game since 2015 with the Diamondbacks.

Quintana is 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA this season against the Brewers. For his career, he is 6-2 with a 1.60 ERA vs. Milwaukee.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo reached the 100 RBI mark Sunday for the fourth year in a row. He became the first left-handed hitter in franchise history with four seasons of at least 100 RBI.

Willson Contreras hit his 10th home run of the season Sunday and his first since August 1. It was his first homer at Wrigley Field since July 20.

How About That!

Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon hit for the cycle in yesterday’s victory.

After going 0-for-2 in Sunday’s regular season finale, a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Angels, Khris Davis ends the 2018 season batting .247. It’s the fourth consecutive season he has batted exactly .247. Davis is the first player in baseball history to hit for the same batting average (rounded to three decimal places) four seasons in a row.

Sunday’s Three Stars

  • Anthony Rizzo – The All-Star first baseman had an MVP day, going 4-for-4 with three runs plus a walk and put the Cubs up for good 3-2 with a scorching double in the 3rd inning.
  • Charlie Blackmon – The Rockies outfielder hit for the cycle in a lopsided victory over the Nationals.
  • J.D. Martinez – Boston’s DH hit his team-leading 43rd home run and upped his RBI total to 130 in the Red Sox 10-3 victory over the Yankees.

On Deck

Milwaukee seems quite confident heading into today’s game. Bring on the Brewers and send them packing back to Milwaukee.

Extra Innings

For a team that won 95 games this season, it is almost unfathomable how much the Cubs have been scrutinized and derided on the internet. With the team down 2-0 early yesterday, fans on Twitter were already throwing in the towel for the entire postseason, conceding the division to the Brewers and predicting a loss in the Wild Card game. While both of those things are still possible, calling this season a failure is a meritless opinion.

They Said It

  • “I was pumped up even to get the call to be able to go in at that time. I went out there and gave it the best I had. It worked out good for me and the team. We were able to a good rally going after that inning.” – Allen Webster
  • “It’s interesting that baseball is such a perfect game in some ways that it takes 162 to not decide anything.” – Joe Maddon
  • “It’s going to be a different animal tomorrow. We talk about being more alert than normal. That’s all I want from the players. Just play your game and grind those at-bats out. Catch the ball on defense. We need a good start out of Q. That is really important for us to be successful tomorrow. That will be a big part of it.” – Joe Maddon

Monday Walk Up Song

Drunk in the Day. We started the season with Wally Dogger and a victory. Let’s end it the same way. If I can bust out of work today I’ll see you at Murphy’s Bleachers at 11am.

Back to top button