The Cubs won and lost Wednesday night. Even with dropping the finale of the three-game series with the Brewers, the Cubs got one step closer to a spot in the tournament early Thursday morning.
The Giants lost to the Padres 5-4 in San Diego and reduced the Cubs magic number.
Any two combinations of Cubs wins or Giants losses and Joe Maddon’s team secures a spot in the post-season. But don’t talk magic numbers to Joe Maddon. The Cubs skipper did not know what the number was prior to Wednesday’s game.
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Maddon does not want his players to be distracted by how many victories or competitors’ defeats it would take to make it to the postseason. Maddon did tell the beat writers the Cubs will celebrate making it to the playoffs.
“Celebrate it as big as you possibly can. You celebrate achievement all the time. I love the fact that we celebrate every night. It has this bonding effect among the group. And when you go beyond that, celebrate just a little bit harder.”
The Cubs do not play Thursday, the last off-day of the regular season. The Pirates currently have a three game lead on the Cubs for home field advantage in the NL Wild Card Game. Pittsburgh wraps up the series in Colorado on Thursday afternoon (2:10pm CDT). And the Giants play the last of three in San Diego starting at 8:10pm CDT.
The Cubs and Pirates open a three-game series Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) at Wrigley.
Cubs-Pirates Pitching Probables
Jon Lester gets the ball in the opener Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) and will take on Gerrit Cole. Jason Hammel faces Francisco Liriano on Saturday (12:05pm CDT) in game two. And the series will wrap under the lights on Sunday (7:08pm CDT) with Jake Arrieta opposing A.J. Burnett on ESPN.
News and Notes
• Kyle Hendricks felt good about his outing Wednesday despite the fact the Cubs lost the game. According to ESPN Chicago, Hendricks is going to try to build on his latest start. And Joe Maddon liked what he saw from Hendricks. The final numbers from Wednesday (three runs on four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in six-plus innings) do not indicate how well he pitched. It was one of his better outings since the break.
• Comcast SportsNet: Kyle Hendricks makes pitch for playoff rotation.
• A cheetah paid a visit to Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
• Joe Maddon said Tuesday night what Jake Arrieta is doing in the second half is Bob Gibson-esque. Christopher Kamka posted the post-All Star Game numbers: Bob Gibson (1968): 16 games, 11-4, 1.19 ERA, 144 innings, six home runs and a .189 opponent’s batting average. Jake Arrieta (2015): 13 games, 10-1, 0.86 ERA, 94 1/3 innings, two home runs and a .158 opponent’s batting average.
And last, but not least, David Price continues to pay a lot of attention to the Cubs. Price tweeted a congrats to Jake Arrieta for reaching 20 wins Wednesday. “Wow Jake Arrieta. I think you need to find something else to do brotha … you make it look so easy! Keep it going … #20winsandcounting.”
This Day In Cubstory
1984 – The Cubs won the National League East with a 4-1 victory over the Pirates behind Rick Sutcliffe at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Cubs won the pennant behind Sutcliffe’s 14th straight win.
1979 – Herman Franks resigns as manager of the Cubs and is replaced by Preston Gomez. Franks criticized a number of Cubs players on his way out the door including Barry Foote, Mike Vail, Bill Buckner and Ted Sizemore.
1976 – Bill Madlock suffered a concussion after being mugged in New York, Cubs lost that day’s game 4-3.
1975 – Joe Wallis broke up Tom Seaver’s bid for a no-hitter with a two-out single in the ninth. The Cubs won the game 1-0 in 10 innings
1971 – Milt Pappas struck out the side in the top of the fourth inning on nine pitches. Pappas struck out Greg Luzinski, Don Money and Mike Anderson in what is considered a perfect inning. Pappas lost the game to the Phillies.
1971 – Kevin Millar, born
1970 – Cubs kept pace with the Pirates in the NL East Pennant race with a 7-1 victory over the Cardinals behind Ken Holtzman. The win kept the Cubs within 2 ½ games of the Pirates. But two straight losses ended the season and gave the Pirates the flag three days later.
1964 – Rafael Palmeiro, born
1947 – Cubs released Stan Hack
1943 – In his big league debut, Andy Pafko drove in four runs with a double and a single in three at bats and led the Cubs to a 7-4 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field. Due to the weather, only 314 were in attendance for a game that was called after five innings.
1908 – The Cubs lost to the Giants 5-4 on the day after Merkle’s Boner. The two teams found out the controversial game would be declared a tie.