The Chicago Cubs (103-58) were down by one run as the game headed into the 9th inning against the Cincinnati Reds (68-94) in a game where they rotated through 15 different position players.
The ninth inning went as planned for the Reds, at least through the first two outs. After that, Albert Almora drew a walk, Munenori Kawasaki singled, and Matt Szczur doubled to score two runs and give the Cubs a 5-4 lead.
They weren’t done.
Relentless is a term we’ve used to describe this team a lot throughout the 2016 season and relentless is how they finished. Miguel Montero would poke a two-run home run to punctuate the come-back, and the season for the Cubs. It was only right that the regular season for the Cubs ended this way, with the Cubs applying relentless pressure to come from behind in the ninth inning for the big 7-4 win (Box Score).
Kyle Hendricks had a shot to finish the season with an ERA under 2.00, but that would have required one run or less through five innings. It wasn’t to be as he looked a little shaky today and ended up surrendering four runs through five innings. It raised his ERA to a league low of 2.13. Irregardless of his final game today, he’s still cemented himself among the top pitchers in the league and just may have earned himself the Cy Young award. We’ll see.
Stats that matter
- Kyle Hendricks never looked entirely comfortable today – 5.0IP, 4R, 6H, 1BB, 4Ks, 88 pitches
- The bullpen was wicked, throwing 4 innings of no-hit ball – 4.0IP, 0R, 0H, 2BB, 2Ks
- Matt Szczur’s ninth inning double was the game-winner – 1-for-3, 1R, 2RBI, 2B
- Willson Contreras had a big game and an equally big 8th inning HR – 2-for-4, 1R, 2RBI, 1BB, HR
- Miggy has made his case for the postseason roster – 1-for-1, 1R, 2RBI, HR
That was an incredible ending to a magical regular season. When Kyle Schwarber went down in the Cubs third game of the year it felt like a gut punch but it didn’t discourage the boys in blue. In fact, it may have given them even more to play for in a season filled with things worth playing for.
And now we’ve come to the final regular season game. It’s bittersweet for me. Obviously, I’m pumped for the playoffs but I also realize how rare seasons like these are. The nice thing is that we get five days to chew on it, to get all that juicy flavor out of it, before things get real. So, for the next few days that’s exactly what I plan to do. I’ll reflect on this incredible season and then, come Friday, I will be ready for postseason Cubs baseball.
I can’t write this without getting chills – the postseason is here, my friends. The Cubs will play the Wild Card winner on Friday, October 7. Game time and pitching match-ups TBD. Get pumped!