Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Dodgers, Rockies To Face Off In Tie-Breaker For NL West Title

Dave Roberts Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
| 03 October, 2018, 09:28

The team store is staying open all night - not closing again until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"If we hit, we can go to the World Series, if we don't ..." the Cubs manager did not have to finish the sentence.

The losing team will go on to play in the one-game National League Wild Card game, with the victor getting a few days off before advancing to the NL Division Series. Chicago finally responded in the bottom of the eighth inning when a double from Javier Baez scored Terrance Gore to tie the score, 1-1.

The Rockies won it with three two-out singles in the 13th against Kyle Hendricks by Trevor Story, Gerardo Parra and Tony Wolters.

MLB Communications said in a tweet that the Brewers will play the victor of Tuesday night's game between the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee pitching silenced the Cubs' bats in a 3-1 victory that sends them to the National League Division Series, while their opponents suddenly face elimination. It had everything, including a Baez hug of Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado in the 11th on a fielder's choice. Colorado lost this game last season and hasn't played in an NLDS since 2009.

Freeland, the Rockies' quiet ace, dominated for 6 ²/₃ innings on three days' rest. Buehler has faced the Rockies five times in 2018. "I told his brother that previous year, and look where we are tonight". After Freeland frustrated so many Cubs hitters, the next cycle Maddon buys from his brother should be on the house. It was another very disappointing appearance, and I remarked that I'm not sure the Cubs could justify carrying him on a postseason roster at this point. A 95-win season, the second-best mark in the NL, means little because of the loss. A Cubs team that preaches a positive one-day-at-a-time attitude only has one more guaranteed game left this year.


Before the game, Baez sounded the alarm. "We'll be leaning on him hard, we've got to score him some runs so he can settle in". We've got to go out there and compete. "Even when we're struggling, we are the head of everybody". Every swing-and-miss or soft grounder elicited a groan from fans who felt the anxiety build with every weak at-bat.

They fell into the trap.

Jon Lester is scheduled to take the mound for the Cubs while Kyle Freeland is expected to be the starter for the Rockies. On this crisp night in Chicago, it was impossible to tell that one of them hadn't been in this spot before. That offense is not going to work in any October.

There are several other players who have games Monday that also have 36 home runs and are near the league lead in RBI, so it's possible the home run from May won't factor in. It's the first Game 163s that do not involve a win-or-go-home scenario, as all four teams will be in the postseason. Last year, they ran out of gas in the NLCS.

On the one hand, this absurd game was postseason baseball at its finest. While riding his trek bike this offseason, he will have much to ponder.

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