Today’s game between the Cubs and White Sox had completely different meanings for each team. The Cubs entered the day locked into the 3rd seed in the National League, having clinched the division crown the night before. The Sox could feasibly finish in first, second or be the wild card depending on their outcome combined with the Cleveland and Minnesota games. How did it go?
The Cubs’ benchwarmers jumped all over Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez before adding on runs against the Sox bullpen, while the Sox had no answer for Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay before Brailyn Marquez came in for a big league debut to rival Nuke Laloosh’s debut in “Bull Durham”, ending up with their comeback falling short, as the final score ended 10-8 in the Northsiders’ favor. For those paying attention, the teams went 3-3 against each other for the year, with the road team taking two of three in each series.
Let’s get to this:
Alzolay. He went 5 innings, allowing one run on two hits while walking a pair and striking out eight. He was in love with his slider a little too much early on, but once he stopped shaking off Victor Caratini he settled down and was dominant. Truthfully, if the Cubs need a Game 3 starter against the Marlins, he might be the guy. Alec Mills will probably get the ball, but AA will have to be ready to piggyback in each game in case something goes sideways.
Kris Bryant. Wearing the chains again, he hit another majestic dong. I never knew KB had a “fuck you” mode before, but here we are. The return of his boomstick gives now the Cubs a whole new look now that the brackets begin.
Billy Hamilton. A home run, stealing home, another hit and three runs. Everyone knows what you get with Hamilton. He’s got crazy speed, but has never gotten on base enough for it to become a useful tool. Speed that doesn’t get on base is as useful as that Allen wrench you got with an IKEA cabinet that has never fit a single screw in your house other than that one damn cabinet. But today, the cabinet got built.
Luis Robert. La Pantera went 3-for-5, and has picked a good time to start heating up again.
Adam Engel. Look, everyone would much rather have Eloy Jimenez in the outfield, but Engel had a couple hits, including a home run.
Yasmani Grandal. He hit a home run in the ninth inning to make the game interesting.
Duane Underwood Jr. Sure he had to hurry into relief, but 5 hits and two earned runs when your job is to stop the bleeding ain’t it.
Lopez. He just didn’t have it at all today. He lost about 4 MPH in the time he was out there, and by the time he was done it was batting practice.
Jimmy Biceps had an ugly inning of his own after Carlos Rodon and Jace Fry had settled things down. Had he held things down himself, this game might have had a different outcome.
Marquez’s first time on a big league mound. He became the only Cub this season to hit 100 MPH, but his fastball was an adventure. His breaking stuff all looked good, and his changeup will definitely be a swing-and-miss pitch for him. He had to be added to the 40 man roster anyway, so today just gave him an opportunity to see if he could maybe pump heaters for an inning in the postseason. I don’t think that’s happening. But it’s OK, he’ll be the guy the Cubs will probably start off in Iowa next year, and he’ll be ready for his closeup around midseason.
The only game in the last eight that the Sox didn’t lose was the one Ricky Renteria didn’t manage.
Next up for the Cubs is the Wild Card Round at Wrigley Field against the Marlins.
The Sox are indeed the Wild Card, and will head up to Minnesota to face the Twins.