The Chicago Cubs season has come to an unceremonious end on a beautiful Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Despite a first-place finish, home-field advantage, and two solid pitching performances, the Cubs ultimately bow out with a 2-0 loss to the upstart Marlins in the Wild Card portion of the 2020 postseason.
If you were hoping against hope that the Cubs had fixed their offensive woes in the last weekend of the season, you are no doubt bitterly disappointed after two home playoff losses at an empty Wrigley Field. If you were hoping the bizarre weather postponement yesterday might afford you a chance to watch the Cubs on Saturday afternoon, you are also likewise severely disappointed.
Marlins starter Sixto Sanchez was as good as advertised, throwing triple-digit heaters, 93 mph change-ups, and breaking balls that stifled the Cubs in the same way Sandy Alcantara did on Wednesday. While the Cubs had several golden opportunities to score, they never could push one across against Sánchez or three Marlins relievers.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish was almost as good as Sánchez but ran into trouble in the 7th inning when he threw a mistake curveball to Garrett Cooper, who hit it into the bleachers in left field. After giving up a double to Matt Joyce, Lewis Brinson came on to run for Joyce and the Cubs walked Miguel Rojas intentionally. Magneuris Sierra singled into right and scored Brinson to make it a seemingly unsurmountable 2-0 Marlins’ lead.
For the Cubs, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber both walked to start the 4th inning giving the team and fans hope. But Contreras was thrown out at home plate after hesitating to run following a Jason Heyward broken-bat single to right.
In the 5th inning, Victor Caratini and Ian Happ both singled with one out. After a strikeout by Anthony Rizzo, Contreras was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Schwarber flew out softly to left.
In their last at-bat, Heyward gave the Cubs a fighting chance with a leadoff double, but old pal Brandon Kintzler got Javier Baez, David Bote, and Jason Kipnis to strikeout to end the game and the Cubs season. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Despite great pitching for most of the day, the offense just never got going. That was the theme for this Wild Card series. No offense.
While you could point to the numerous opportunities the Cubs had to score today, the solo home run Cooper hit off a Darvish cement mixer was the only moment that mattered in a game without any runs from the Cubs.
Stats That Matter
- Since winning the World Series, Rizzo, Báez, and Bryant are 19-for-141 (.134) with 51 Ks and 6 BB in the postseason. Woof.
- The Cubs were 9-for-62 (.145) in the Wild Card two games against the Marlins.
- Happ continued his breakout performance in 2020 with a 4-for-8 performance in the series and the Cubs lone run on his home run in Game 1.
- Darvish was excellent again but not perfect, giving up five hits and a couple runs in 6.2 IP.
The Cubs didn’t do nearly enough on offense to deserve any more games in the postseason. Now they head home disappointed for the fourth year in a row since winning in 2016. It’ll likely be a long and depressing offseason, but hope springs eternal and the thought of a full season of baseball in 2021 may brighten some optimistic Cubs fans’ winters. Here’s hoping.
The offseason. There will be no joy in Wrigleyville this year. See you in the Spring.