Tha Sports Junkies 101

Chicago Cubs: “We Never Quit”

Chicago Cubs Michael Imus/Via Flickr


Cubs End Even Year Streak, Now Look to End Their Own

Chicago Cubs

After a heartbreaking loss on Monday night for the Chicago Cubs, they looked to bounce back and prevent the San Francisco Giants from gaining any more momentum. The Giants were 10-0 in their last 10 elimination games, on Tuesday night the Giants came to prove that they were not done just yet.

The Cubs John Lackey would square off against the Giants Matt Moore.  From the start it was clear that Lackey was struggling with control and location.  The red-hot Denard Span jump started the Giants with a lead off double to right fielder Jason Heyward.  Brandon Belt would follow with a sacrifice fly to center field to move Span to third and Buster Posey would follow with a Sac fly of his own to give the Giants a 1-0 lead after one inning.

The Cubs offense would continue to struggle as they went down 1-2-3 in the 2nd inning and John Lackey was able to pitch himself out of trouble in the bottom of the 2nd to keep the Giants offense at bay.

In the top of the 3rd inning Cubs catcher David Ross would tie the game up with a home run to left field from Matt Moore.  With the home run Ross became the oldest catcher in MLB history to homer in a postseason game and the oldest player to homer in a Cubs postseason game.

In the bottom of the 3rd after an acrobatic play from Javier Baez was overturned, Ross would come through for the Cubs again.  With one out and Span on first Ross would fire a strike to Baez at 2nd base to record the second out of the inning.  Lackey would again manage to get out of the 3rd and keep the Cubs close.

The Cubs would go down again in the 4th and would hope that Lackey could continue to battle his way through a hungry Giants offense.  In the Bottom of the 4th the Giants bats suddenly found life.  With one out the Giants Connor Gillespie singled to right field.  Joe Panik would follow with a single to move Gillespie to third.  After a walk to Gregor Blanco to load the bases, the Giants fans were feeling good.  With a 0-2 count on Giants pitcher Matt Moore, Lackey would make a mistake and Moore would make him pay with a ground ball single to right which allowed Gillespie to score.  This was only the 2nd RBI of Moore’s career and it pushed the lead to 2-1 Giants.  Span would then ground out to Anthony Rizzo at first and Panik would plate the Giants 3rd run of the game.

The Cubs would get back one of those runs in the top of the 5th on a David Ross Sac fly that scored Javier Baez, bringing the score back to a one run game at 3-2 Giants.

In the bottom of the 5th the Giants bats would remain hot.  After a single from Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford would drive one-off the top of the wall in right center and a base running error from Pence would only allow him to reach 3rd on the double.  The Cubs would remove Lackey after 4 1/3 innings pitched and bring in Travis Wood to face Gillespie.  Connor Gillespie who has been clutch for the Giants all postseason singled to center driving in Pence and moving Crawford to 3rd.  Joe Panik would hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Ben Zobrist which scored Crawford from 3rd.  The Cubs would manage to escape from there, but the damage had already been done giving the Giants a 5-2 lead after 5 innings.

Matt Moore would pitch a phenomenal game for the Giants.  Neither team was able to score in the 6th, 7th or 8th inning and they entered the 9th with the Chicago Cubs on the ropes and just 3 outs away.  The Giants would remove Matt Moore in the 9th inning after he completed 8 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run, 10 K’s and 120 pitches in the game.

One thing to keep in mind about this game is that teams that hold a 3 run or better lead after the 8th inning are 824-3 in playoff baseball history.  Which brings us to the 9th inning.

Derek Law would enter the game and start the 9th versus Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.  Bryant would single on a grounder to left and the Giants would then replace Law with Javier Lopez.  Lopez would also face only one batter as he walked Anthony Rizzo to bring the tying run to the plate.  Bruce Bochy would go to the pen again to bring in Sergio Romo.  Romo like his two previous counter parts would only face one batter, but that batter was Ben Zobrist.  Zobrist would double down the right field line to score Bryant and move Rizzo to 3rd base.  Out came Bochy again to bring Will Smith in to face rookie pinch hitter Wilson Contreras.  Contreras would continue the sudden offensive surge of the Cubs and single up the middle which allowed Rizzo and Zobrist to score and tie up the game at 5-5.

With Contreras on first Right fielder Jason Heyward would bunt a ball too hard back to the mound in what looked to be a routine double play, but a throwing error by Brandon Crawford after the force at second would allow Heyward to move over to 2nd base and into scoring position with one out in the inning.  Bochy would make his 5th pitching change of the inning and bring in Gorkys Hernandez to face Javier Baez.  Baez would deliver with an RBI single up the middle to score Heyward and give the Cubs their first lead of the game. The Giants would escape more damage after an inning ending double play from David Ross.

After a Monday night debacle in which the Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman appeared to be human, Cubs manager Joe Maddon would turn to his closer again to close out the game.  On Tuesday the Cubs got the Chapman back that they already knew he was.  Chapman would close out the game by striking out the side to end the series and advance the Chicago Cubs to the NLCS on Saturday.

After the game Cubs players reacted to the comeback win.

“We’ve had several games that feel like that during the season but when you do it in the postseason, it gives you a whole other level of confidence late in the game,” said Ben Zobrist , who delivered a key RBI double in the ninth. “Once KB and Rizz got on, you kind of felt like, something good is going to happen here. Really, the last two nights, that’s what the Giants have done, they’ve put great at-bats together, rallies together. Tonight was our night.”


“[We did it] in a really difficult environment against a team that hasn’t lost a closeout game in a while,” Maddon said. “All that stuff matters. All that matters is that we continue to move forward and establish this identity as being a team that plays well in the postseason.

“Give our guys credit,” Maddon said. “They’re young, and people don’t understand, they’re young and inexperienced, too. To be able to do what we’ve done is pretty special.”


Cubs 39-year old catcher, David Ross helped to delay his retirement party a bit longer too.

“To come back from three down against a really good ball club says a lot about the character of this group that I’ve known about all year … It’s an amazing group and it’s fun for me to be a part of,” Ross said on FS1.


So what’s next for the Chicago Cubs in this run to end the dreaded 108 year streak without a World Series?  They won’t know who their opponent is until after Thursdays game between the Dodgers and the Nationals, but they do know they are headed back home to Wrigley Field.  On the mound for the Cubs will be Ace Jon Lester who threw 8 scoreless innings versus the Giants in game 1 of the NLDS.

All season long the Chicago Cubs have had a rally cry of “We Never Quit” and on Tuesday night they proved it to the Boys from the Bay and may have opened the eyes of the world too. Also make that 824-4 now.