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Quintana’s Playoff Debut, Cubs Take Game 3

Cubs take game 3 Kieth Allison - Via - Flickr

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Quintana’s Playoff Debut, Cubs Take Game 3

The Chicago Cubs are inching their way to make it back to the National League Championship Series for a third consecutive year. Monday afternoon, Cubs fell behind in the sixth inning before fighting their way back to beat the Washington Nationals. Cubs take Game 3, 2-1 and are now up 2-1 in the series.

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Cubs Take Game 3

Heading into Game 3, on paper the matchup of Jose Quintana against Nats ace Max Scherzer looked to be tough on both sides. It lived up to the hype. Both shared their own showing of dominance throughout the game.

For most the game both pitchers put up zeros on the board but still managed to allow baserunners here and there. During the fourth inning, Nats were pressuring and had runners on first and third with two outs but Rendon’s couldn’t get past defensive asset Jason Heyward. The bottom half inning, Cubs also got runners on via two walks(one was an HBP) but still came out hitless.

Quintana struck out the side in the fifth while Max Scherzer continued to no-hit this Cubs lineup.

The Nationals finally score in the sixth after a couple errors and a double. Daniel Murphy hit a fly ball toward Kyle Schwarber in left field which he dropped before it got kicked around. Murphy on second, Schwarber was charged with two errors. Quintana exit with two out in the sixth inning. Pedro Strop enters and gives up a double that scored Murphy and gives them the lead.

Breaking The No-Hitter

It wasn’t until the seventh inning that the Cubs finally broke through Scherzer’s dominance. After starting the postseason of quiet, Ben Zobrist ends the no-hitter with a double. Pinch-hitting Guru Albert Almora snapped a 0 for 14 streaks with his RBI double which scored Zobrist and tied that game.

The eighth inning, Cubs used all their cards the had to get this win in front of their home crowd. Tommy La Stella enters and draws a pinch-hit walk and is quickly taken out for pinch-runner Leonys Martin. Jon Jay hits a sac-fly to move Martin over to second base. Dusty Baker stepped in after Kris Bryant’s strikeout and pulled Brandon Kintzler for Oliver Perez. Rizzo stepped to the plate with a big confidence, two outs, and Martin on second base.

He hits a fly-ball single to shallow left which falls between three players allowing Martin to score, giving the Cubs the lead. Rizzo was soon called out as he went for second base. In the long run, he was not a big deal.

Cubs bullpen with a strong afternoon. Between Pedro Strop, C.J. Edwards, and Wade Davis, they pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings with no walks and two strikeouts. So, the Cubs take game 3 by a score of 2-1.

Quintana’s Playoff debut

Jose Quintana his first six years of career in Octobers watching the playoffs from his home. Quintana told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, “I think it’s a huge opportunity, too. And for the first time [in the playoffs], I’m really excited to get this opportunity, and I appreciate that.”

For Quintana, he made the most of this opportunity presented and pitched at an ace level. He had success overall but did cut it close at times throughout the game, During the fourth inning, Nats had a runner on first and third but with the help of Jason Heyward catch to get Anthony Rendon out to end the inning. How did he bounce back the next inning? He struck out the side in the fifth.

Cubs got Bryce Harper to strikeout in the sixth before Schwarber’s error on Murphy hit. Strop came in to relive Quintana after tossing 96 pitched over 5 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and one unearned run with only one walk and seven strikeouts.

“You had to match [Scherzer’s] great pitching performance with another one, and we did.” -Maddon said after the game.

What’s Next?

The official start time for Game 4 at Wrigley field has been set for 4:30 central time on Tuesday afternoon. After being given extra time to heal, Jake Arrieta will make his first start since September 26th. This season, Arrieta faced this Nationals team only once and didn’t fear well. He tossed four innings, giving up six runs (five earned) and a whopping six walks with a dismal four strikeouts in a loss. One take away was that Arrieta kept All-Star Bryce Harper hit-less in three at-bats.

Tanner Roark only made one start in the playoff prior to this upcoming game. Last year during the NLDS vs. the Dodgers, he pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks. Much like this Cubs team, Roark season has been a tale of two halves. Roark had a 5.27 ERA and batter hit at .278 average during the first half which he bounced back from. He finished the second half going 7-5 with a 3.90 ERA and .223 batting average against.

Jake Arrieta despite the injury has the upper hand because of his previous playoff success on the mound. He is 4-2 in 7 games with a 3.64 ERA. Rizzo’s game-winning hit was only a glimpse of what he’s been doing this playoff series. He leads the team with four hits and five RBIs.

Tuesday afternoon, Cubs have the ability to take the series and Fly the W in front of a home crowd. Fasten your seatbelts, the Nats won’t go down without a fight.

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