What a game! Joe Maddon’s Cubs announced their presence with authority Wednesday night in Pittsburgh behind Jake Arrieta. Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler supplied the offense. After starting the game in left field, Kris Bryant moved to third base and made game changing plays with his glove. And Addison Russell showed a lot of maturity with his ability to shake off an error so quickly in the sixth inning that he started an inning ending double play just two pitches later.
Jake Arrieta recorded his fourth complete game shutout of the year Wednesday. Arrieta said after the game he was determined to finish what he started and he was on the hill when Starlin Castro caught the 27th out of the game.
Jake Arrieta is the first pitcher in post-season history to throw a shutout with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. Arrieta tied the Cubs’ post-season strikeout record. Arrieta struck out 11 and equaled the mark set by Kerry Wood in 2003. And when Arrieta stole second base after the Pirates hit him in the seventh he became the first pitcher in Cubs history with a stolen base and a HBP in a post-season game.
- Comcast SportsNet: Jake Arrieta Silences Pirates, delivers Wild Card win for Cubs
- Jayson Stark: Wild wild-card win sends a message, don’t mess with the Cubs
- Sports Illustrated: Jake Arrieta’s brilliant performance could be the start of magical run for Cubs
- ESPN Chicago: Led by Kyle Schwarber, Cubs rookies answer every question in wild-card win
The Cubs were 8-11 in 19 games against the Cardinals this season. But over the last two series, the Cubs were 4-2 in the six games. At Busch Stadium, the Cubs were 3-7 in 10 games.
The Cardinals struggled against left handed pitching during the regular season. As a team, the Redbirds hit .230/.307/.355 with a .662 OPS versus southpaws, last in the National League. Against right handers, the Cardinals batted .261/.326/.409 with a .736 OPS.
- Game 1 – Friday, Oct. 9 – Cubs at Cardinals (Busch Stadium) – 5:30pm CDT
- Game 2 – Saturday, Oct. 10 – Cubs at Cardinals (Busch Stadium) – 4:30pm CDT
- Game 3 – Monday, Oct. 12 – Cardinals at Cubs (Wrigley Field) – TBD
- Game 4 – Tuesday, Oct. 13 – Cardinals at Cubs (Wrigley Field) – TBD (if necessary)
- Game 5 – Thursday, Oct. 15 – Cubs at Cardinals (Busch Stadium) – TBD (if necessary)
Jon Lester is starting Game 1. Lester faced the Cardinals five times during the regular season and was 1-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Lester allowed 14 runs, nine earned, on 25 hits with 10 walks and 34 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. Lester was 1-0 in two starts at Busch with a 1.29 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.
John Lackey was 2-0 in three starts against the Cubs this season with a 1.25 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Lackey allowed three runs on 19 hits with five walks and 19 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. At Busch Stadium this year, Lackey was 9-4 in 17 starts with a 1.93 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.
Theo Epstein and Anthony Rizzo said Wednesday night the Cubs would start preparing for the Cardinals on Thursday. The team was scheduled to fly from Pittsburgh to St. Louis late Wednesday night.
The Cubs can, and will, make changes to the 25-man roster that was submitted for the NL Wild Card Game. Look for a more traditional active roster with possibly 11 pitchers and 14 position players.
Rosters for the National League Division Series do not have to be turned in before Friday.
The longtime rivalry that heated up last month at Wrigley will be taken to an all-new level during the NLDS.
News and Notes
• Joe Maddon always tells Dexter Fowler, “You go, we go.” Fowler set the tone for Wednesday’s game. Fowler singled off Gerrit Cole and stole second. Cole was not able to settle in and the Cubs knocked him out of the game after five innings. Fowler joined Phil Cavarretta and Andy Pafko (1945, World Series) and became the third Cubs player with three hits and three runs scored in the same post-season game.
• Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler each hit a home run off Gerrit Cole on Wednesday night. In 56 1/3 innings career innings against the Cubs, Cole allowed two home runs.
• Anthony Rizzo knows Ernie Banks would be really proud of this team. Rizzo explained to ESPN Chicago the Cubs have a lot to prove.
• Aramis Ramirez likely played the last game of his excellent career Wednesday night. Ramirez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play in his only at bat in the Wild Card Game. Ramirez has said he would retire when the Pirates’ post-season run was over. Ramirez was one of the vets Starlin Castro turned to when he made his debut in 2010. Ramirez and Castro remained close after he left and signed with the Brewers. Carrie Muskat talked to Castro about this relationship with Ramirez. And she also talked to Ramirez about Castro. Ramirez said he called after Joe Maddon decided to make a change at shortstop. Ramirez talked to Castro and told him to trust himself, and “don’t let any negative thing put you down, keep working, you know you’re good.”
• Scott Miller took a look at baseball’s greatest miracle worker, Theo Epstein.
• Before the Wild Card Game, ESPN Chicago asked how far will the Cubs go?
• According to Wayne Drehs, the Cubs most important player just might be a backup catcher hitting 1.76. This is an excellent report on what David Ross has meant to the Cubs this year.
• ESPN Chicago posted five things you need to know about the 2015 Cubs.
And last, but not least, shortly after Starlin Castro caught the soft liner to end the Wild Card Game, Edwin Jackson tweeted, “Congrats to all by boy with the Cubs! Good luck the rest of the way!”
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Cubs exercised Rich Harden’s $7 million option for the 2009 season after tests showed everything was okay with his right shoulder.
1986 – Adron Chambers, born
1970 – Sandy Martinez, born
1959 – Mike Morgan, born
1959 – Cubs released Randy Jackson
1957 – Reds purchased Steve Bilko from the Cubs
1951 – Cubs purchased Milo Candini from the Phillies
1948 – Reds purchased Marv Rickert from the Cubs
1945 – Cubs beat the Tigers 8-7 in the sixth game of the World Series at Wrigley Field. Stan Hack doubled over Hank Greenberg in the 12th inning and plated the winning run. The Cubs tied the series at three games apiece.
1941 – Cubs released Charlie Root
1936 – Cubs traded Lon Warneke to the Cardinals for Rip Collins and Roy Parmelee.
1929 – Cubs lost game one of the World Series to the A’s 3-1 at Wrigley Field.
1908 – In the make-up game with the Giants after what become known as the Merkle’s Boner Game, Mordecai ‘Three Finger’ Brown outpitched Christy Mathewson 4-2 as the Cubs won the National League Pennant by one game over the New York Giants
1907 – Down 3-2 to the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth in game one of the World Series, catcher Charlie Schmidt dropped Bill Donovan’s third strike that allowed the Cubs to tie the game. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie in 12 innings. The game was called due to darkness at West Side Grounds.
1889 – An unusual Way to Play Two … The Chicago National League Ball Club played a doubleheader, Cleveland in the morning and Louisville in the afternoon. The franchise that would be the Cubs won both games, 13-0 over Cleveland and 7-3 over Louisville at West Side Grounds. Jack Taylor won the first game in his first big league shutout, the team’s 39th shutout of the season, a post-1892 franchise record. Bill Lange stole home in the second game and Sam Mertes hit an inside-the-park home run.
1885 – Jimmy Ryan made his big league debut at shortstop and went 1-for-4 in a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia.