One game and the Cubs can clinch their division. Yesterday, the Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a 7-0 romp of their Central Division rivals. Jon Lester was incredible through eight shutout innings and Anthony Rizzo crushed two home runs to seal the deal.
“Everybody talked about [clinching] coming into St. Louis, and we had a chance,” Lester said. “We have to focus on the baseball side when we show up to play. Obviously, it’s right there in front of us. We have to try to win [Thursday].”
It would have been nice if Kyle Hendricks got the no hitter and it would have been amazingly poignant that the Cubs clinched their division in St. Louis but now they must settle against doing it versus the Milwaukee Brewers. At least it’ll be on home turf and the friendly folks down on Addison will rejoice and fill the streets with all the noise. We know that the Cubs are going to win the division unless catastrophe strikes, but what about finishing the regular season with the best record in baseball?
“I’m just worried about winning the division, and keep moving from there,” Maddon said. “If you win it, it’s easy. It’s beautiful, the prose is written, everybody’s wonderful, praise occurs. That’s one way. If it weren’t to occur, then it’s up to whomever wants to write whatever they want to write [and] what their perception is.”
The Cubs season is magical on so many levels. Even yesterday’s David Ross home run with he hit it farther then Anthony Rizzo at 429 is a monumental achievement of sorts.
“Can we get that in the paper somewhere?” Ross said. “[It was] 429, and I think I got it more than that. I’ll let [Rizzo] know.”
In the last of a long road trip, the Cubs head back to Wrigley to accomplish what hasn’t been done since 2008. They’ve got the one and two ERA leader on their team, 3rd place in wins with Lester and Jake Arrieta tied, second and fourth place pitchers in WHIP. They have the runs leader in Kris Bryant, and the National League wins leader in Arrieta. I mean holy crap, this is an historic team even if they don’t win that coveted trophy.
“I can imagine that for those people following us really closely, watching all the games, coming to a lot of games, that this is a sweet time for them to really enjoy the moment,” said first-year Cub Ben Zobrist, who mentioned that teammates talked in recent days of clinching on the Cardinals. “I think for the guys that have been here for a while and have endured some of the trouncings they’ve taken here in the past from the Cardinals, that might be sweet for some of those guys. But for the rest of us, it would be probably even sweeter to do it at home.”
Game time is 8:05 Eastern. The beer will be cold.
Hey Chicago, what do you say?