It probably would have been easier on everyone had all parties involved just decided to bang Sunday’s game even earlier on a wet afternoon in St. Louis, but playing it gave the Cubs an opportunity for a victory both real and moral. Even if neither W matters in the end and even if the game only went seven innings, it’s nice to end the season with two wins against the Cards.
Also nice was the fact that the Cubs played Tyler Payne and Joe Biagini to give them an MLB record 69 players used in 2021. David Ross was a regular barista in September, handing out cups of coffee left and right as players were lost to injuries and COVID. As such, it’s difficult to discern much about what the Cubs really have.
They may actually have something in Frank Schwindel, who doubled with one out in the top of the 1st and scored on a Matt Duffy groundball single that died in the wet outfield grass. That early lead evaporated quickly as the Cards recorded tallies in their halves of the 1st and 2nd, then the Cubs recaptured the advantage for good a few innings later.
Rafael Ortega started the two-out rally in the 5th with a single and then came around to score on a double from, you guessed it…Frank Schwindel. After Ian Happ walked, Duffy came through with another single to score Schwindel. The Cubs needed only two pitchers to silence the Cardinals, who were prepping for the postseason by removing big hitters quickly.
This wasn’t a pretty game by any means, notable only for being the last one the Cubs will play on the year. While it’s nice to see this season euthanized, it’ll be tough to go another four-plus months without Cubs baseball. If you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s kinda nice to watch postseason baseball when you don’t have a dog in the fight. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Their players had a lot more riding on this game than the guys on the other side, so there was just that much more motivation to get aggressive and scratch out just enough to get it done.
That two-out rally in the 5th was clearly the biggest moment if we’re being serious, but getting Payne and Biagini into the game set an all-time record.
Stats That Matter
- The Cubs used 69 players this season.
- Schwindel and Duffy were both 2-for-3 and had a hand in all the Cubs runs between them.
- The Cubs had 6 hits and struck out 9 times.
- With a final record of 71-91, the Cubs finished 20 games under.
The season is finally over. Iconic members of the 2016 World Series team were traded away, the Cubs endured two double-digit losing streaks, and we really have no idea what the future holds. This has been a wild, trying few months and it’d be a lie to say it was easy to cover or follow.
The postseason opens soon and the Cubs won’t be part of it, so we won’t be back with another lineup or recap post until spring training next year. There’ll be plenty to follow in the meantime, though, so please keep coming back to see what we manage to dig up.