The Rundown: Cubs Celebrate Playoff Berth, Hammel Shaky Again, Cardinals Lose Carlos Martinez

Even though the Cubs lost to the Pirates yesterday, after the game, they made sure to celebrate their first playoff berth since 2008 — which they achieved Friday night once the Giants lost to the A’s.

This is all Joe Maddon, who has said previously that the team would be celebrating when they clinched a spot in the playoffs. It may seem odd to do so after a loss, but it was still a neat moment for players and fans alike.

The Cubs celebrate all of their wins (for 30 minutes); it’s clearly something Maddon believes in. Hard to argue with the idea, after this surprising season.

Let’s all enjoy it for now, and start looking forward to the playoffs.

So about the third starter

Jason Hammel looked good through 4 innings yesterday, but then fell apart. He gave up three runs on five straight hits in the top of the 5th, and was replaced without recording an out.

So the Cubs’ starting rotation remains a major issue heading into the postseason. After Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, it’s hard to count on anybody else giving you a solid 6-7 innings.

Hammel was supposed to be that guy, but just hasn’t been the same since suffering a leg injury just before the All-Star break. Whether that is an issue that is still plaguing him or if it’s a matter of confidence at this point is anybody’s guess.

It will be interesting to see what Joe Maddon decides to do with the rotation in the playoffs — if the Cubs make it past the Wild Card game.

Other notes

* The Cardinals have lost yet another important piece. This time it’s another starting pitcher, as young RHP Carlos Martinez is done for the season (including playoffs) with a shoulder strain. Last night, Martinez left his start in the 1st inning. It didn’t look good, and it ended up not being good. The Cardinals still have a solid four starters in their rotation, but Martinez had an excellent season: 3.01 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 184 strikeouts in 179.2 innings pitched.

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