Tonight the Chicago Cubs returned to PNC Park for the second of four games with the Pittsburgh Pirates needing either a win or a Phillies loss to get into the postseason, and begin living the bubble life in preparation for the playoffs. The Cubs were sending Jose Quintana, fresh from the injured list, with a plan of Adbert Alzolay piggybacking with the hopes of getting six innings between them. How did it go?
The two-headed hydra that we might as well call Josbert Quinzolay combined for six innings, and scored a couple runs late to tie it up before Jacob Stallings hit a walkoff home run to send the Cubs to a more somber celebration after a final score of 3-2. Let’s get to this:
Quinzolay. Jose went two innings allowing one run on two hits, while Adbert went four, also allowing two hits and one run, but also striking out seven while walking only two. The highlight for Alzolay was his slider, which was a true swing-and-miss pitch. Combining that with his 96 MPH heater, and you’ve got yourself something.
Cameron Maybin. A single in the fifth inning for the Cubs’ first hit, then threw out Adam Frazier in the bottom of the frame as he was trying to stretch a double into a triple.
Anthony Rizzo, who yanked a line drive just on the good side of the right field foul pole in the 8th inning as the Phillies were getting walked off by the Nationals, securing the Cubs’ playoff berth. This was Rizzo’s tenth home run, but his first with anybody on base.
Andrew Chafin was throwing his slider effectively in the ninth inning until he tried sneaking a fastball past Stallings, and Stallings decided to sneak it into the seats. Sure, it’s easy to second guess having him pitch to Josh Bell and Stallings in the ninth while Craig Kimbrel was ready in the bullpen. But the logic was sound, as it had Bell swinging from the right side. You’re better off taking your chances with Stallings.
At this point, the Jose Martinez experience has gotten to the point that once he finally gets his first hit as a Cub, they should send the ball to Cooperstown. He’s now 0-for-20 since being acquired at the trade deadline. He gave one a good ride, but a diving catch by Bryan Reynolds kept his o-fer going.
These teams meet again tomorrow with Kyle Hendricks going up against Trevor Williams. The magic number for clinching the division still sits at 4.