Cubs Squander Division, Prep for Wild Card Matchup

The Chicago Cubs led their division for the majority of this season. But Monday, hopes for a division title were quashed as the rival Milwaukee Brewers came to Wrigley Field and won tiebreaker game number 163.

This means the Cubs’ road through the playoffs – and maybe reaching a second World Series in three years – has now become much more difficult.

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The Cubs will play the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday in a wild card do-or-die game at Wrigley Field. (The Brewers will take on the winner of that game Thursday.) The Cubs used six bullpen pitchers Monday and have concluded an exhausting stretch of games in August and September.

Cubs’ starter Jose Quintana pitched well for the Cubs, but in the third inning gave up this RBI single to potential league MVP Christian Yelich, getting Milwaukee on the board first. But the Cubs would come back in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run from slugger Anthony Rizzo to tie the game at 1. The bomb came off of Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin, who pitched five innings Monday, giving up only that run. Rizzo ends the season with 25 home runs and 101 RBIs. The Brewers also went deep into their bullpen. In the sixth. the Cubs faced two on with two out and Cubs star Javy Baez at the plate – but they get him to strike out, leaving two runners on base.

And then it all came apart in the top of the eighth: Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain singled home Orlando Arcia, putting the brewers up by 1 – facing Cubs reliever Steve Cishek. And then Cubs killer Ryan Braun belts in pinch hitter Domingo Santana to put the Brewers up 3-1.

There was one final chance for the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth facing lockdown Brewers closer Josh Hader. With two down and Baez on base, Rizzo flies out to right field, ending the game. It clinched the division title for the Brewers, who won eight straight games to get into this position after the Cubs seemingly had the division locked up only a few weeks ago.

Now they’ll face the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley in a win-or-go-home game. The Cubs will have Jon Lester going for them Tuesday. And if they win, they start the series with the Brewers again up in Milwaukee on Thursday – the Brewers will have home field advantage all the way up to the World Series. If the Cubs had won Monday, they would’ve had that advantage.

The road forward becomes much more treacherous – but Cubs skipper Joe Maddon is keeping it cool.

“It’s another game where we’re not dead in the water, we have another opportunity,” Madden said. “I’ve been involved with wild card teams that have gone all the way. You just have to put this game away and not have it negatively impact your thought process.”

Bears vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Chicago Bears turned heads on Sunday after lighting up the scoreboard against the Tampa Bay  

They are now 3-1 and in first place in the NFC North. The Bears blowout victory Sunday came as a result of the heroics of second year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He tied a team record, throwing for six touchdown passes, more than 350 yards and a nearly perfect quarterback rating.

Tampa Bay left receivers wide open all day, including speedy running back Tarik Cohen, who caught balls for more than 100 yards. The victory will certainly quiet some of the fans who were nervous that Trubisky, the first round pick quarterback, was not going to pan out – Sunday he put together an MVP-like game.  

And the defense, which we know is rock solid, had another stellar performance, shutting down what had been the one of the hottest offenses in the NFL for only 311 total yards and 10 points.

The Bears now will have to sit for a while with this momentum as they have a bye week before going to Miami to play the Dolphins on Oct. 14.

Follow Paris Schutz on Twitter: @paschutz

Related stories:

How the Cubs Changed Baseball – and America’s Relationship to the Sport

Cubs Season Ends With Humiliating NLCS Defeat

Cubs Hope to Avoid World Series Hangover as 2017 Playoffs Get Underway

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