The Chicago Cubs took on the Pittsburgh Pirates today for the last game at Wrigley Field this season. Mediocre Pirates pitching was the order of the day, and the Cubs managed to avoid being swept and improved their record to 66-93, with a score of 4-2. The Pirates fall to 91-68.
Francisco Liriano came into this game with a record of 16-7 and a 2.88 earned run average. He hurled 104 today for 66 strikes, getting high in the pitch count early off Cubs extra base hits. He went 5 innings today and posted a 3.02 ERA, issuing a walk and recording 8 strike outs. He didn’t seem to have his best stuff today, giving up 4 runs, and marking a stroke of luck for the Cubs against this usually top-rate pitcher. His motion didn’t seem as fluid as it should have been which may have contributed to his difficulty in keeping his opponents off the bases. He was replaced by Vin Mazzaro. Mazzaro recorded a hit by pitch but was saved by a 6th inning double play off a Nate Schierholtz hit. Bryan Morris came in next and surrendered a double to Starlin Castro, an intentional walk to Rizzo, and a wild pitch that advanced both runners, but was able to get out of the sticky situation. Jeanmar Gomez replaced Morris in the 8th, and readily took care of the Cubs, recording a strike out.
Jake Arrieta didn’t have a bad day at all, except for a very difficult third inning. He came into this game with a 3-2 record and posting a 5.06 ERA, and ended his day after 6 innings. He gave up 4 hits and one run, while recording just one strike out. His final ERA for the day was 4.78 and threw the ball 84 times for 54 strikes. He allowed the game to be tied in the third by walking the bases loaded and then walking Justin Morneau to bring Starling Marte home. Other than that he seemed to be on his game, and pitched efficient innings as indicated by his pitch count. He was replaced by Justin Grimm, who immediately posted 2 strikeouts in a 1-2-3 7th inning. Pedro Strop came in for the 8th and also recorded a 1-2-3 with a K for the cherry on top. Kevin Gregg closed out the game in the 9th, proving to be cardiac after giving up a RBI triple to Jose Tabata.He regained his composure and struck out Starling Marte in three pitches.
Starling Marte had a rather amazing game, recording 3 steals and 2 hits (along with a hit by pitch) and bringing his total of steals for the season up to 40. The young left fielder seems in form for the postseason.
The Cubs got off to an early start with a Darwin Barney double in the first, who was summarily scored by a Anthony Rizzo RBI single.
As was previously mentioned, a bases loaded walk issued by Jake Arrieta to Justin Mourneau knotted the game at 1 in the 3rd inning. Some poor play from Junior Lake, who managed to throw to first base instead of to his cutoff man and a Starlin Castro error (one of two today alone, becoming all too common these days) proved threatening from the Pirates, but they were unable to capitalize.
The real fireworks came in the 6th which started with a Donnie Murphy single, and a Junior Lake walk (after an attempted 3-1 bunt with no outs because why not), which then brought up Darnell McDonald. McDonald hit his first home run for the Cubs, a 3-run affair that put them up 4-1.
The Pirates attempted a 9th inning rally when Jose Tabata hit a triple to score former Cub Felix Pie, bringing the score 4-2.