Another day, another comeback win for the Chicago Cubs, and they continue to control their own destiny for the postseason.
Patrick Wisdom’s two-run homer in the sixth gave the Cubs the lead, and they held on for a 4-3 win over the Rockies, sweeping the three-game series. The one-run win moved the Cubs’ record in one-run games back to .500 at 21-21, and, from BCB’s JohnW53:
The Cubs had not swept a series at home against the Rockies since a four-game sweep in late May/early June 2008.
They swept a four-game set in 1993 and a three-game series in 2007.
To the beginning we go!
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second. Seiya Suzuki led off with a walk and one out later, scored on a double by Yan Gomes [VIDEO].
The Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the third on a two-run homer by Brendan Rodgers.
The Cubs put two runners on in the third and could not score, and Gomes led off the fourth by being hit by a pitch — stranded.
In the fifth, Ty Blach hit another Cub, Nico Hoerner, leading off the inning. Then Ian Happ did something inexplicable — tried to bunt. Happ hasn’t had a sacrifice bunt since 2021 and has only five in his MLB career. That had to be Happ doing that on his own, an attempt to bunt for a hit. It failed spectacularly — Blach caught the ball and doubled Nico off first base.
The Rockies made it 3-1 with a solo homer by Nolan Jones in the sixth. Jordan Wicks completed six innings, allowing those two home runs and three runs overall, with one walk and three strikeouts. Not a great outing, but not awful either.
The Cubs got the offense going in the bottom of the sixth. Suzuki led off with a double, his third time on base on the afternoon. He advanced to third on a single by Dansby Swanson and scored on this sac fly by Gomes [VIDEO].
That’s a terrific catch by Doyle. If he misses that ball, both runners score and Gomes is likely on second with a double.
In any event, the next hitter was Wisdom. Boom! [VIDEO]
Fun fact about Wisdom’s blast from BCB’s JohnW53:
Patrick Wisdom now has 22 home runs in 290 PA — one HR every 13.19 PA.
Matt Olson, the MLB leader with 53 homers, went into Game 2 of the Braves’ doubleheader with one in every 13.13 PA.
Then it was up to a depleted Cubs bullpen to hold off the Rockies for three innings. Daniel Palencia threw a 1-2-3 seventh. Jose Cuas allowed a leadoff single to Doyle, then struck out Ezequiel Perez for the first out of the eighth.
Gomes’ throw wasn’t the best, but Nico made a fantastic catch and tag for the out. Excellent defense, again, by the Cubs.
Then it was up to Julian Merryweather to nail down the save in the ninth.
And let me tell you, Merryweather still drives me nuts with all the walks. He walked the first two batters in the ninth, then got the next two on fly balls to center field.
Then Ryan McMahon, one of the Rockies’ better hitters, was sent up to pinch hit. He appeared to have hit a ground ball to Cody Bellinger at first base, an out recorded, “Go Cubs Go” started to be played and Clark the mascot ran out on the field with the “W” flag.
Not so fast, said the umpiring crew, who ruled that was a foul ball and sent McMahon back to bat. Merryweather ran the count full on McMahon.
All’s well that ends well, I suppose, but I could have used a little less drama.
The Cubs’ win wrapped the home season at 45-36, their most wins at home since 2019, when they went 51-30. It was also the team’s 82nd win, clinching a winning season, the first for the team since 34-26 in 2020 and first in a full season since 84-78 in 2019.
The other teams closest to the Cubs in the wild card race (Diamondbacks, Marlins, Reds) also won Sunday, so the Cubs still trail the D-backs by half a game, lead the Marlins by one game and the Reds by 2½ games. The Brewers lost to the Marlins, so the Cubs’ win staved off elimination in the N.L. Central race for another day. The D-backs have another game against the Yankees in New York Monday while the Cubs are off, so if the Yankees can win, the Cubs would be tied for the second wild-card spot with six games left.
The Cubs will surely enjoy their off day, which they are spending in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the rotation for the Atlanta series has been shifted, a bit:
Cubs pitching probables at Braves:— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 24, 2023
Tuesday: Justin Steele
Wednesday: Jameson Taillon
Thursday: Marcus Stroman
Hendricks had been slotted in after Steele, looks like he’s instead being lined up to start in Milwaukee for final series.
This is the right call. The Braves have just crushed Hendricks for the last couple of years, but he’s pitched much better against the Brewers. So, Justin Steele will open the series Tuesday against Atlanta righthander Bryce Elder. At this time the Braves don’t have any starters listed past the Tuesday game, which will begin at 6:20 p.m. CT and be televised both on Marquee Sports Network and TBS (outside the Cubs and Braves market territories).