Chicago Cubs: Playoff implications remain on final day of season
A Cubs win and a Pirates loss and we have baseball at Wrigley on Wednesday
The Chicago Cubs have 161 games in the books. They’re headed to the NL Wild Card game regardless of today’s game’s result. But after a long season, a Cubs win coupled with a Pirates loss to the Reds will put the Cubs as the host of the Wild Card game as opposed to traveling to Pittsburgh. And we though the one game the season was coming down to was Wednesday.
The Cubs have won seven straight, including a sweep over the Cincinnati Reds, who they will now be “pulling” for in their season finale against the Bucs. After beating the Reds, I didn’t see any way possible they could beat the Pirates once more or less two out of three. But here we are on the final day and it’s a possibility. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon has been clear the team is confident wherever they play, but to play at Wrigley would be as much for the fans as anything.
"“It also matters to play in front of your home fan base,” Maddon said. “That would be the big reason for me. You’d want to play at home, because of our fans. h/t Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune"
The starting pitching which was a question mark after Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester has been phenomenal, putting the Cubs in this position. Dan Haren comes off a stellar start versus the Reds in which he went 7 1/3 innings. Another one of those type of starts and he could help assure himself a spot on the playoff roster.
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Maddon had originally planned to make today a “spring training” type game, subbing out starters after a few at-bats. But with the possibility of hosting the Wild Card game on the line, he will likely play this like any other game.
It’s amazing how baseball plays out after such a long season. You would think after that many games over that long a period that teams would be able to distance themselves from each other. But the game of baseball is special in this way. No. 162 will still matter. And No. 163 even more so.
Man, I love baseball.
Next: How have the Cubs fared against Gerrit Cole this season?