Cubs eliminated from postseason play despite win
Michael McLoone - USA Today Sports

Cubs eliminated from postseason play despite win


by - Senior Writer -

MILWAUKEE - Faced with a win-or-go-home scenario at American Family Insurance Field on Saturday, the Chicago Cubs (83-78) knew the task at hand. After getting walked off by the Milwaukee Brewers (91-70) on Friday, which has been a common theme throughout the week, the Cubs offense wasted no time in getting going as they scored six runs in the first inning, capped off by the Yan Gomes grand slam to take a 5-0 lead.

Unfortunately, their lead didn't last long as Jordan Wicks picked the worst time to have the worst start of his brief career as he not only failed to make it out of the second inning, but gave that 6-0 lead right back as this was suddenly a 6-6 game after two. Fortunately, the Cubs managed to bounce back and finish strong as they kept the pressure on the Marlins with a 10-6 win.

While the win was a great thing, especially to end the losing streak, it will not matter as the Marlins did end up winning their game as they have locked up the final wild card spot, thus eliminating the Cubs from playoff contention for a third straight year. Enough of the disappointment for one night. Let's focus on the positives from this one and boy, there were plenty as the Cubs lit up Eric Lauer.

Known for having great starts against the Cubs, Lauer did get through four innings, but was charged with eight earned runs in the process, as it was a long night from the start. It only took three pitches for the Cubs to take the lead as Christopher Morel belted his team-leading 26th homer to start things off and provided the Cubs with instant offense for the 1-0 lead.

That homer was followed by a trio of walks to load the bases as Lauer went through some command issues. On the verge of breaking things open or potentially hitting into an inning-ending double play, Mr. Clutch Gomes came through in the best way possible as his grand slam opened the Cubs lead up 5-0.

Chicago wasn't finished there as Patrick Wisdom added the Cubs third homer in the first inning to back Wicks with an early 6-0 lead.

Given how Wicks has pitched since his promotion, you had to think six runs would be more than enough for the left-hander. However, he was also due for a rough start, and Saturday was the day for that rough start. Singles from Mark Cahna and William Contreras started things off while a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Put in a tough spot; Wicks proceeded to allow an RBI double from Willy Adames to put the Brewers on the board as they cut the deficit to 6-2.

Wicks did a great job bouncing back to finish the inning strong, but he also allowed an RBI groundout to Tyrone Taylor as the Brewers were within 6-3. The second inning was more of the same for Wicks, with Andruw Monasterio leading off the bottom of the second with a single and coming home to score on the Blake Perkins homer to make things 6-5. The long ball continued to play a massive role for the Brewers in the second as Friday night's hero Carlos Santana tied things up with a solo shot later in the sixth as that was it for Wicks with Haydn Wesneski coming on to pitch.

What looked like an offensive shootout early on continued to live by that as the Cubs put a pair of runners on base in the third only to come away empty. After settling down from his horrendous first inning, Lauer lost it in the fourth as the Cubs offense came out strong once more. This time, Alexander Canario was getting the rare start and leading things off with a single.

Canario would be thrown out at home later in the inning on the Morel double, but all was not lost as singles from Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ put the Cubs in front 7-6, with Cody Bellinger adding on with an RBI double to make things 8-6. One thing Wesneski has struggled with at times this season has been his command, and after walking two mixed with an Adames single in the fourth, the Brewers loaded the bases and were looking to strike yet again.

That wouldn't be in the cards in this one as Wesneski got out of the inning without any damage, and some might say that was the momentum swing the Cubs needed. With Lauer done after the fourth, former Cub Trevor Megill came on to pitch and was greeted by a leadoff double from Jeimer Candelario. Two batters later saw Canario come through once more as his RBI triple extended the Cubs lead to 9-6.

Chicago was unable to do anything with that triple, but they still held a three-run lead, with Wesneski finishing up the fifth to qualify for the win.

With Craig Counsell going with another pitching change in the sixth, the Cubs offense continued to play well as Happ led things off with a double before the Bellinger walk put two runners on and no outs. Another walk from Dansby Swanson loaded the bases for the Cubs most clutch hitter in Gomes, who rewarded the team with his fifth RBI using a groundout to make things 10-6.

That would be all for the Cubs offense the rest of the way, as this would come down to the Cubs pen to close things out.

At this stage of the season, it is all hands on deck as Javier Assad took over for Wesneski and was replaced by Jameson Taillon, whose strong finish to the season has to be promising heading into next year. Taillon not only came on to pitch in the sixth but proceeded to throw the game's final four innings, allowing just three hits and striking out three to earn his first save of the season for the Cubs as they evened things up with the 10-6 win.

With the Marlins win and knowing they are eliminated from the postseason, don't be surprised to see most regulars out of the lineup on Sunday as they have nothing on the line.

Canario continues to show up when called on as he paced the offense with three hits and his RBI. Morel, Happ, and Candelario all had multi-hit games, but the five RBI effort from Gomes jumpstarted this team and proved to be the difference.

ÔÇťThereÔÇÖs a lot to be proud of,ÔÇŁ Cubs manager David Ross said about missing postseason action. ÔÇťRight now, it's just disappointment. I think we can all feel that. We can all soak that in, remember how that feels, use that this offseason to get better and continue to grow. And come back next year and take another step forward.ÔÇŁ

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