With teams making last-minute trades left and right, the Chicago Cubs, and Miami Marlins are set to clash in a three-game set starting tonight. Both clubs picked up a pair of wins on Sunday in walk-off fashion.
Since the All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals inched their way closer to the first-place Chicago Cubs. But ever since they dropped the first two games of the Crosstown Classic on the South Side, the Cubs have been playing better at Wrigley Field.
On Friday, they lit up the Mariners for 12 runs only to have Aroldis Chapman blow his first save as a member of the organization on Saturday. And on Sunday, well, skipper Joe Maddon decided to introduce a six-man rotation by bringing up Brian Matusz who was released earlier today.
Seattle jumped all over Matusz for six earned runs in three innings of work. All six runs came via the long ball — three two-run homers that put the Cubs (63-41) in a 6-0 hole with the bullpen taking over.
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But they did not give up. Slowly, but surely, or inch-by-inch, Maddon’s boys fought back with Travis Wood leading the charge. Wood entered the game to pitch, only to move out to left field where he made an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 catch and moved back to the mound, again.
He laid down a perfect bunt, allowing Heyward to race towards home, slide in head first and swipe home plate before the tag could be applied. That’s how a six-run deficit was erased. For Miami (57-48), they were up 3-0 over the Redbirds only to watch that lead fade away in the eighth.
Hendricks was on fire for the Cubbies after recording four straight games without being charged with an earned run until he took the bump against the Chicago White Sox on the road. He was tagged for three runs on six hits and is looking for redemption.
Kyle had himself a four-run lead the last time he pitched against the Marlins but gave up a grand slam in the home half of the first inning that tied things up early. All four runs were unearned as he picked up the no-decision on June 24.
When looking a tonight’s starting lineup for Miami, it looks like Ichiro Suzuki will be coming off the bench for the visiting team. Ichiro is only two hits away from recording 3,000 in his professional career (which includes his time in Japan) and we all know how Len Kasper is hoping he gets to call that moment.
This is going to be a tough series. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. central time and will air live on WGN, 670 The Score.