The Cubs took a 2 games to 1 lead in the NLDS with a power display that has never been seen before in their 8-6 win over the Cardinals.
Jake Arrieta was not his usual dominant self and failed to record a quality start for the 1st time since mid-June. He gave up 4 runs (all earned) on 5 hits (1 HR) and 2 walks with 9 Ks. It was not a great night to pitch with the wind blowing out, but he still kept the damage to a minimum and won the game for his 2nd postseason win.
The Cubs smashed 6 HRs as a team tonight, which set a MLB record for HRs in a playoff game. Every hitter in spots 1-6 hit a homer and the Cubs as a team showed a very disciplined approach, drawing 5 walks as well.
Jorge Soler has not made an out in the playoffs yet and was a perfect 2 for 2 with 2 walks, a single and a 2-run blast to left-center. It was his 2nd HR of the series and he has now walked 5 times as well. He is on a different level so far this postseason and is a perfect 9 out of 9 at the plate.
Kyle Schwarber got the Cubs on the board with a missile into the basket in left-center. It left the park in a hurry and was on a changeup that he just waited back on and exploded through. His poise and production in the playoffs has been a sight to behold so far.
Kris Bryant got his first postseason hit (a single) and later added a huge 2-run blast into the LF bleachers. He finished the day 2 for 5 and really does play so much better at Wrigley (.311 AVG 21 of 26 HRs).
Anthony Rizzo absolutely crushed a solo HR halfway up the RF bleachers for his 1st postseason hit. It came right after Mike Matheny replaced starter Michael Wacha with lefty Kevin Siegrist. Rizzo also made a great play on a smashed grounder down the line in the 8th inning for the 2nd out of the inning for Pedro Strop.
Starlin Castro may have turned the tide and momentum toward the Cubs’ side in the 4th inning when his solo HR tied the game back at 2 after the Cardinals had just taken the lead. It was a 101.5 MPH shot off his bat to CF as he jumped on the 1st pitch he saw in the AB. Castro is hitting .364 for the postseason so far and has stayed hot for the Cubs.
Dexter Fowler added a very important insurance run in the bottom of the 8th with the record-setting 6th HR of the night. His HR was definitely aided by the strong wind blowing out, but he has been making solid contact so far in the postseason.
The pen did some of the heavy lifting tonight with Clayton Richard and Travis Wood each getting a quick out with 2 pitches from Richard and 1 pitch from Wood. Trevor Cahill looked great again getting 2 big outs and Pedro Strop exercised some of his Cardinal demons with a perfect inning of relief in the 8th, including 2 Ks.
Addison Russell was removed for the game with a tight hamstring after legging out a triple down the LF line. Joe Maddon said after the game that he wasn’t sure of the severity of the injury, so we will see if he is out there tomorrow or not. Hopefully it isn’t anything major and Russell and his solid defense will be back at short.
Javier Baez came in and replaced Russell at short and went 2 for 2 with 2 singles, but did make a very lazy error on a throw to first that he shouldn’t have rushed.
Game 4 will be tomorrow afternoon at 3:37 PM (CST) on TBS. Jason Hammel (10-3, 3.74) will get the start for the Cubs as John Lackey (13-10, 2.77) gets the call for the Cardinals on 3 days rest as they try to stave off elimination.