What started in February when pitchers and catchers reported to Mesa will continue for at least one game beyond the 162-game regular season schedule. For the first time under Ricketts family ownership, the Cubs will play in the post-season.
The Cubs clinched a spot in the tournament late Friday night when the Giants lost in Oakland. While everyone associated with the team would have preferred to beat the Pirates and celebrate a post-season berth at Wrigley after a win, the Cubs are in and in the end that’s all that really matters.
With nine games left in the regular season the Cubs still have a shot at catching the Pirates and hosting the NL Wild Card. The Cubs are 4 ½ games back of the Bucs while the Pirates are three behind the slumping Cardinals for the division lead. The NL Central will be represented by three teams in the playoffs but only one will advance past the NLDS and play either the Dodgers or Mets in the NLCS.
It’s not believed Joe Maddon will back off and just coast into the Wild Card Game. The Cubs have a lot of work to do and goals that can still be reached before the season wraps-up next Sunday.
After the Cubs clinched, Jake Arrieta tweeted, “It’s official. Playoffs. Now we go.”
The Cubs confirmed Friday that Kyle Hendricks will start Monday’s makeup against the Royals in what will be the final game of the regular season at Wrigley. Dan Haren will get the ball in the opener of the Reds series at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday.
As the rotation is currently setup, unless the weather forces changes or Joe Maddon decides to give one of his starters a break, here’s how the rotation lines up for the final nine games of the regular season:
- Sept. 26: Pirates – Jason Hammel
- Sept. 27: Pirates – Jake Arrieta
- Sept. 28: Royals – Kyle Hendricks
- Sept. 29: Reds – Dan Haren
- Sept. 30: Reds – Jon Lester
- Oct. 1: Reds – Jason Hammel
- Oct. 2: Brewers – Jake Arrieta
- Oct. 3: Brewers – Kyle Hendricks
- Oct. 4: Brewers – Dan Haren
Jake Arrieta would be able to start the Wild Card game on Oct. 7 on regular rest.
News and Notes
• The Sun-Times reported Joe Maddon doesn’t care and these Cubs are simply having fun.
• According to the Tribune, the Cubs wonder ‘what if’ after Starlin Castro makes the safe decision.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Jon Lester’s big-game reputation gave the Cubs credibility in rebuild.
• According to a report from CBS Chicago, Manny Ramirez is soaking in Cubs’ success.
• Jayson Stark explained all the potential tiebreaker scenarios.
• Gerrit Cole held the Cubs in check again Friday. Cole struck out eight batters in seven innings and became just the fourth pitcher in Pirates’ history to strikeout 200 or more in a single season. Cole joined Bob Veale, Oliver Perez and A.J. Burnett and is only the second right-hander to reach the 200-strikeout plateau.
• And Gerrit Cole threw 84 fastballs in the 109 pitches he made on Friday with an average velocity of 97.6 mph.
• Comcast SportsNet reported that according to Joe Maddon there is no place for retribution in Cubs-Pirates rivalry. The Pirates were not happy with Maddon for a couple of comments he made last week about Jung Ho Kang before the severity of the injury was known. Maddon explained why he said what he did. The Pirates did not go after Chris Coghlan during Friday’s game.
• The Sun-Times reported prior to Friday’s game that Kris Bryant was eager to face Gerrit Cole. Bryant went 2-for-4 with a run scored and ended up with one the Cubs’ four hits off Cole.
• LHP Rich Hill had another sensational outing for the Red Sox. Hill tossed a two-hit complete game shutout as the Sox beat the Orioles 2-0. It was Hill’s first complete game since 2006 when he pitched for the Cubs and Dusty Baker. Hill joined Jon Lester as the only two Red Sox lefties in the last 100 years with 10 strikeouts in three straight starts.
• The Red Sox announced Friday the team hired former Braves’ GM Frank Wren as their new Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.
• MLB released a statement Friday in regards to the meeting Commissioner Rob Manfred had with Pete Rose about his application for reinstatement. Commissioner Manfred told Rose that he will make a decision by the end of the calendar year.
• Jon Paul Morosi pointed out Friday, five players that were on the 2008 Cubs that won the NL Central played in the majors this season … Aramis Ramirez, Jeff Samardzija, Geovany Soto, Neal Cotts and Jason Marquis. Morosi left Rich Hill off his list. Hill was also part of Lou’s Crew in 2008.
This Day In Cubstory
1989 – Cubs won the National League East Crown with a 3-2 win over the Expos in Montreal. Mitch Williams struck out Mike Fitzgerald to close out the title for The Boys of Zimmer.
1988 – Chris Archer, born
1983 – Cubs acquired Terry Leach from the Mets for Jim Adamczak and Mitch Cook
1971 – Ernie Banks played his final game for the Chicago Cubs. Banks collected his 2,583rd hit in the first inning of his 2,528th game. The Cubs lost 5-1 to the Phillies at Wrigley Field.
1964 – Dave Martinez, born
1961 – Steve Buechele, born
1959 – Bobby Thompson went 4-for-4 and Al Dark hit a three-run homer in a 12-2 Cubs win over the Dodgers at Wrigley Field.
1949 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Don Robertson
1927 – The Cubs played their final home game of the season and reported an attendance figure of 1,190,000 for the year, the first time the Cubs drew over 1 million fans to Wrigley Field.
1925 – Bobby Shantz, born
1908 – A double shutout … Ed Reulbach became the only pitcher in Major League history to pitch a doubleheader shutout over the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Reulbach beat the Dodgers 5-0 in games one and 3-0 in game two. Both games were played in less than three hours.
1876 – The Chicago National League Ball Club scored six runs in the sixth inning and clinched the first ever National League Pennant at 23rd Street Park with a 7-6 victory over Hartford.