There’s nothing like a little suspense to make the baseball season move along. Last night the Cubs dropped the Brewers 1-0 and now are one game behind the Pirates. Today is the last day of the season. Here’s the situation:
If the Cubs win and the Pirates lose then Chicago hosts the Wild Card game on Wednesday. If Pirates win and Cubs win, then Pirates host. Of course, if Pirates win and Cubs lose, then it’s in Pittsburgh.
How’s that for rivalry? Pirates lost last night to the Reds.
The Cubs are 96-65 this season. A far cry from last year’s 73-89.
Call it the end of the season blues, but the Cubs seemed like a tired bunch by stranding 12 runners in last night’s victory. They’ll have to sharpen their pencils if they want to beat Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
“It’s obviously something we have to get better at,” Anthony Rizzo said. “Hopefully, now we’re so bad at it, come playoff time, we’ll be good at it then. It is what it is, and we can’t get too mad about it. We know we have to get it together.”
Joe Maddon acknowledged the problem the Cubs are having with RISP.
“Just not swing at pitches in the dirt would really help,” Maddon said. “It has nothing to do with the swing or mechanics or anything else. It’s just pitch selection if you replay the tape. It has nothing to do with physical mechanics. It’s not. It’s about what you’re thinking and what you’re swinging at. That’s where you’re successful or not. Nobody hits those pitches — Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, none of those guys hit those pitches. We just have to hit a better pitch.”
On the upside, Kyle Hendricks had one of his best outings of the season by pitching six shutout innings and capping off the season with a win that when it comes time to evaluate his off season, he’ll have something to build upon.
So now that the season is all but over, we have to talk about another subject that Cubs fans aren’t really obliged to discuss around this time of year.
Is the “Curse of the Billy Goat” going to come into play?
“Superstition for me has no place in Cubs history or tradition,” Joe Maddon said this weekend. “If you choose to vibrate on that, that’s your concern. Our guys, for me, it’s about playing winning baseball every night and that’s it. We’re not going to get caught up in stuff that really should not matter. And if you’re really caught up in what’s happening today, that other stuff won’t matter.”
Last week, there was a GoFundMe campaign to bring Steve Bartman to the National League Wild Card game. Well, it wasn’t successful.
If you remember a few months ago I wrote about it here. Although I think it’s graceful on the part of Steve to not come to the Wild Card game, I do think the Cubs organization should acknowledge the fact that he didn’t do anything wrong. Let bygones be bygones.