The Cubs kept up their end of the bargain in their pursuit for home-field advantage for the one-game Wild Card on Wednesday, with an easy 6-1 win over the Brewers last night. The Pirates, however, refused to cooperate. They overcame a 4-0 deficit against the Reds and won 5-4 on a walk-off home run in the 12th.
So now for the Wild Card game to take place at Wrigley Field, the Cubs need to win the final two games and the Pirates have to lose both of their games. Last night’s win really hurt the Cubs’ chances, but it was always going to be a long shot anyway.
All the Cubs can control is winning their next two. That starts with Kyle Hendricks on the mound tonight against the Brewers.
Jake is great again
The start went as planned last night for Jake Arrieta, who had yet another scoreless performance. This being Arrieta’s last start before Wednesday’s Wild Card matchup, Joe Maddon pulled him after 6 innings and 72 pitches.
Arrieta gave up only two hits and struck out seven. I think it sealed up his bid for a Cy Young, but we’ll see what happens. It was Jake’s 22nd win and his 20th quality start in a row. His ERA in the second half of the season ends at 0.75! This is the lowest in MLB history.
Not sure we’ll ever see a season like this again from a Cubs pitcher. I know I’ve enjoyed it.
Coghlan not happy about playing time
With the emergence of Kyle Schwarber, the acquisition of Austin Jackson, the returns of Jorge Soler and Tommy La Stella, and the call-up of Javier Baez, Chris Coghlan has found himself as the odd man out in the outfield at times lately.
As Jesse Rogers writes, Coghlan isn’t too thrilled about it.
“I don’t try to read into it,” Coghlan said. “[Joe Maddon] has his reasons for doing things. I learned early in the year not to try and think on the same wavelength. It’s not really possible.
“It’s been a weird year. I haven’t been playing all of a sudden. I don’t know why.”
Yesterday, Coghlan found himself on the bench even though a right-hander was on the mound. Kyle Schwarber got his first start in right field, while Kris Bryant was in left.
Maddon hasn’t ruled out Coghlan starting Wednesday in the Wild Card game against Gerrit Cole and the Pirates, but it’s looking like maybe we’ll see Coghlan coming off the bench instead. (And I stress “maybe” — there’s really no telling what Maddon may end up deciding.)
Coghlan’s comments initially come off a bit harsh; it’s not really the type of thing you want to hear from somebody only a few days before the playoffs start. But I’m sure he’s simply frustrated, after playing such a huge role for this team for most of the season.
Coghlan has gone from a poor man’s Ben Zobrist, playing both outfield and then second base when Starlin Castro was benched, to now being a platoon guy/pinch hitter.
But what it comes down to right now, is the Cubs have a lot of options, and there are only so many at-bats to go around. It’s not helping Coghlan’s case that his bat has gone cold — hasn’t had a hit since Sept. 20 (0 for his last 17).
* Dexter Fowler was hit on the shoulder with a throw from infielder Jean Segura last night in a bizarre play. Fowler remained in the game but was removed later. You could see him wincing after the play, so hopefully everything is all right. Here’s the play:
"You hit that guy!"
"He shouldn't have been standing there!" pic.twitter.com/aA2QmuHG8k
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 3, 2015
* Baseball America has released its top 20 prospects of the Midwest League, and two Cubs prospects make the cut. The No. 1 spot belongs to the Cubs’ young shortstop Gleyber Torres. Very exciting player who is still ridiculously young. Coming in at No. 6 is the Cubs’ top draft pick from 2015, Ian Happ. Happ looks like he’ll be a pretty solid bat and OBP guy, but his defensive position is still up in the air. Have to love that the Cubs still have waves of exciting young players in their system.