Last night had a playoff-type feel to it, ending as a 1-0 win for the Cubs in 11 innings.
It was the perfect ending for the final regular-season game at Wrigley Field in 2015: a walk-off home run off the bat of Chris Denorfia. The walk-off was the Cubs’ 13th of the year. So. Much. Fun.
The Cubs move to 3.5 behind the Pirates, who lost in a close game to the Cardinals last night. The Wild Card one-game playoff is still looking most likely to be in Pittsburgh, but baseball can be a strange game sometimes.
Should be a very interesting week.
Joe “Mad Scientist” Maddon rolled out a very interesting lineup last night, headlined by Kris Bryant starting at first base — a position he hasn’t played in his professional career. Tommy La Stella was at third base, batting cleanup. Fun stuff.
Throughout the game, Bryant moved all around the diamond. From first, he went to center field, then over to right field, and finally back at his usual position of third base.
Bryant’s versatility really wasn’t something I was expecting from him. It’s one thing to see a guy like La Stella — a light-hitting utility guy — play all over the field.
But your young all-star-for-years-to-come, who probably has the most power on the team? It’s pretty special, and a blast to watch.
Hendricks pitches well
Kyle Hendricks looked good for the second start in a row. His previous start came against the lowly Brewers, so to see him have success against a solid offense is a good sign.
Hendricks went 6 scoreless yielding only two hits and striking out nine. He had a great change-up that was diving out of the zone and producing a lot of swings and misses.
It’s encouraging to see, with all of the inconsistency we’ve seen from Cubs starters in the second half of the season. Hendricks may be pitching his way into a playoff start, likely with a short leash.
But if the Cubs could get 5-6 scoreless innings out of one of their starters not named Jon Lester or Jake Arrieta, I’d take it in a heartbeat.
* Right-handed reliever Trevor Cahill pitched 2 scoreless innings and struck out three last night, and has been a nice late-season pickup by the Cubs. With the way he has been pitching lately, it seems very possible he will be on the playoff roster.
* The Cardinals were dealt yet another injury last night, as rookie outfielder Stephen Piscotty collided violently with fellow outfielder Peter Bourjos. The knee of Bourjos appeared to make solid contact with Piscotty’s head, and he was taken off the field on a stretcher. Just a brutal play. Good news, however. After the game, the Cardinals announced that all test results came back negative.
* According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs may host a viewing party at Wrigley Field for the one-game Wild Card game (assuming the game is not at Wrigley Field, of course). This would be a pretty neat idea. Just another upside to having the new video board.
* Not surprising, but attendance was healthy at Wrigley Field this year. Total attendance was almost 3 million, an increase of nearly 308,000 over last season.