Joe Maddon played the part of Custer in his last game as Cubs’ manager today, with Mike Schildt playing his part as Crazy Horse. It was the end of an era, the end of a long war with Joe as general. Today’s battle ended in a lopsided 9-0 loss for the Cubs who finish the season with a record of 84-78. While the loss certainly wasn’t symbolic of Maddon’s tenure, it was perhaps fitting with the way things came to a grinding halt here at the end of his time in Chicago.
The game got off to a terrible start, with the Cardinals (91-71) putting up two runs on a couple of walks, a single from Paul Goldschmidt and a double play ground out in the 1st inning. They didn’t stop there, as they put up crooked numbers in each of the first three innings and then added a single run in the 4th. Old pal Dexter Fowler had a two run bomb in there, and Matt Carpenter included his own three-run homer to help build an insurmountable lead for the home club.
While there were no runs and only three hits to get Cubs fans excited this afternoon, they did get one smile at the end of the game when Ben Zobrist came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th. He threw a scoreless inning in what could possibly be his last game as a Cub and maybe even the last game of his career. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Seldom do teams lose games before they’re played. But when Maddon made the decision to start Derek Holland and Mike Schildt made the decision to stick with Jack Flaherty, a Cardinals victory was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately for the Cubs, neither pitcher disappointed in terms of expectations.
The Cards scored two runs in the bottom of the 1st after Flaherty retired the Cubs in order in the top half of the inning. Up 2-0, the lopsided pregame expectations were realized and the Cardinals well on their way to a victory that clinched them the National League Central for the first time since 2015.
Stats That Matter
- Joe Maddon ends his tenure with the Cubs with an amazing 471-339 regular season record, as well as a 19-18 postseason record. Oh, and that hardware you may have heard about in 2016.
- The 2019 Chicago Cubs final record: 84-78.
- The 2019 Chicago Cubs final road record: 33-48.
- Kyle Schwarber‘s pursuit of 40 home runs was one of the few reasons to watch the game today. Alas, he was pulled after one at bat and finishes the year at 38 dingers in 2019. He also finishes the year with a promising .250/.339/.531 slash line after raking to the tune of an even 1.000 OPS since the Midsummer Classic.
Regardless of what happens in the offseason, next season, or the next few years, it’s officially the end of the Joe Maddon era in the Windy City. It’s been a great ride and hopefully, over the next few months, everyone can take a step back and reflect honestly on what Joe has meant to this organization. Hell, go ahead and wax nostalgic once Christmas hits. It wasn’t the end that players, fans, or the front office wanted, but hope springs eternal and 2020 is right around the corner.
For the first time since the calendar read 2014, there’s nothing to look forward to after game 162 for Cubs fans. Cubs Convention, Spring Training, and Opening Day will come more quickly than you think. And I suppose the offseason moves, including hiring a new manager, will give us plenty to ponder until then.