Merry Clinch-mas! The Chicago Cubs are National League Central champions for the second year in a row.
Although the beginning of the game seems like a distant memory, the Cubs did struggle. They were absolutely frustrated by Cardinals starter Michael Wacha through the first six frames, in which they had only two hits and struck out eight times. However, in the 7th inning, there was some clinch day magic! The Cubs scored five times, simultaneously knocking Wacha and the Cardinals out of the game (Box Score).
Why The Cubs Won
John Lackey had a great night, holding the Cardinals to just one run over his six innings of work. His outing, paired with the Cubs’ five-run explosion in the 7th inning, was just what Joe Maddon ordered. Cubs players and fans have been very vocal about how sweet it would be to clinch against the Cardinals, and to do it in a come-from-behind victory was even sweeter.
In the top of the 7th inning, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist both singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Addison Russell stepped up to the plate and launched a 2-1 cut fastball deep to left field, staying fair by inches for a three-run home run. That put the Cubs up 3-1.
The Cubs kept hitting and reaching base in the 7th, tacking on two more runs on two RBI doubles, one by Jason Heyward and one by Tommy La Stella, to make it 5-1 ballgame. That’s how it ended.
Stats That Matter
- John Lackey’s outing today was as solid as we could have hoped for: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
- Addison Russell only hit of the game today was the game-winning, three-run bomb in the 7th!
- The Cubs had seven straight batters reach in that five-run 5th inning. That included two singles, one home run, three doubles, and a walk.
This team is crazy good and they’re just starting to roll. The Cubs have shown time and time again this season that they may get down, but you can never count them out.
And for the cherry on top, with the Cubs win tonight the Cardinals elimination number for the second wild card spot is down to one. That means the Cardinals will quite likely miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
The Cubs finish the season series with the Cardinals tomorrow at 6:15 CT. It’ll be Kyle Hendricks against Lance Lynn, and you can catch it all on WGN.