Morning Marquee: It’s time for the Chicago Cubs to kick it into second gear
By David Miniel
After the Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in last night’s N.L. Wild Card game, it’s time for Joe Maddon and his group of young talent will travel to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals.
Last night’s victory had Jake Arrieta going the distance as he held the Pirates to only four hits with 10 plus strikeouts and plunking two batters in the process. Of course, things got a little heated along the way after Arrieta took a shot to the hip.
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Both benches cleared and former Tampa Bay Ray, Sean Rodriguez, appeared to have thrown a punch at veteran catcher David Ross during the scuffle which resulted in him being tossed from the game.
Before he made his way to the clubhouse, Rodriguez took out his frustrations on a Gatorade cooler in the home dugout by delivering several combinations.
It looked as if he was preparing for a title fight in Las Vegas.
Now that the Cubs are on the move, they’ll need to reach another level if they have any hopes of defeating the Cardinals to advance to the National League Championship Series against either the New York Mets or Los Angeles Dodgers.
Chicago received four runs from both Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber whom each took Pirates ace Gerrit Cole deep in the 4-0 win — the longest being a 449 ft. bomb off the bat of the rookie.
The bottom half of the lineup needs to come through for the man who will be on the mound for them this weekend. You can’t rely on the first two batter’s to provide all the offense, especially when Maddon’s planning on subbing defense for offense late in the game.
Despite manhandling this Cardinals rotation in their previous encounters, this St. Louis team is a completely different beast when it’s time to fight for a potential World Series appearance.
Which means that Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks and possibly Arrieta are going to need to bring their absolute best and hold off the Redbirds until Pedro Strop and or Hector Rondon enter the game.
The Cardinals have been plagued with a handful of injuries this season and were forced to shut down Carlos Martinez after he suffered a shoulder strain in late September.
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina was hurt in a game against the Cubs when Anthony Rizzo slid into home plate. Molina was questionable for this upcoming best-of-five set but was reportedly taking some swings, catching, and throwing according to Cardinals.com.
This weekend is definitely going to be interesting.
Here’s more from around the league:
‘Cubbies Crib seeks writers, Cubs fans‘ – Cubbies Crib
‘Pittsburgh Pirates Podcast – One and done again‘ – Rum Bunter
‘Pittsburgh Pirates’ Sean Rodriguez vs. the water cooler‘ – Call To The Pen
‘Cubs top Pirates 4-0 in NL Wild Card game‘ – Call To The Pen