By: Jim Tsapelas
Photo Credit: Chris Lee/St. Louis Post Dispatch
The greatly anticipated and largely advertised pitching duel between the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha and the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta was literally blown apart as the Cards and Cubs combined to hit eight home runs in Game Three of the NLDS at Wrigley Field.
With the win, the Cubs are in place to possibly clinch their first NLDS since 2003, when they defeated the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs last appeared in a World Series one-hundred and seven years ago.
The Cubs have never clinched a postseason series at home. The Cubs won the clinching games to the 1907 and 1908 World Series at Bennett Park in Detroit and clinched their only NLDS championship at Turner Field in Atlanta.
The Cubs who set a club and MLB record on Monday by hitting six home runs in a postseason game, lead the series two games to one. A Cubs win on Tuesday will bring them their first championship at home.
Four of the five pitchers used by the Cardinals offered-up the long ball to the Cubs. Chicago hit three home runs off of the Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha. Relievers Kevin Siegrist, Adam Wainwright, and Jonathan Broxton, gave up one home run each. The total of eight home runs in a postseason game, including the six home runs hit by the Cubs, is a MLB postseason record.
The scoring frenzy broke out in the bottom of the second inning, when Kyle Schwarber homered to left center.
The Cubs enjoyed an one to nothing lead until the top of the fourth inning; a Jhonny Peralta double scored Stephen Piscotty tying the game at one. Also in the fourth, Matt Holliday scored on a Tommy Pham ground out. Score: Cardinals two-Chicago one.
In the home half of the fourth, Starlin Castro homers to left center. Score: Cardinals two-Cubs two.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the fifth. Jorge Soler also scored on the blast by Bryant. Score: Cardinals two-Cubs five.
The Cardinals refused to go away quietly. In the top of the sixth, Jason Heyward goes yard also scoring Matt Holliday. Score: Cardinals four-Chicago five.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cubs’ Jorge Soler hit a two run bomb off of Adam Wainwright, which also scored Chris Coghlan. Soler has reached base seven consecutive times in the last two games. Score: Cardinals four-Cubs seven.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs seemingly appeared to put the game out of reach on a Dexter Fowler home run. Score: Cardinals four-Cubs eight.
Again the Redbirds refused to go away without a fight. In the top of the ninth, Randal Grichuk scored on a home run by Stephen Piscotty. Final score: Cardinals six-Cubs eight.
Chicago starter Jake Arrieta pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowed five hits, four earned runs, walked two, struck out nine, and allowed the home run to Jason Heyward in the sixth inning.
St. Louis starter Michael Wacha worked four and one third innings, allowed six hits, four earned runs, walked three, struck out five, and gave up home runs to Kyle Schwarber, Starlin Castro, and Kris Bryant.
What could be the final game of the 2015 NLDS is scheduled for Tuesday. Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon announced earlier that his Game Four starter shall be the right-hander Jason Hammel. Maddon reinforced his decision to start Hammel in Game Four following the Cubs victory in Game Three.
Earlier, prior to the beginning of the series, Cardinal manager Mike Matheny announced Lance Lynn would start Game Four. Following Game Three, Matheny announced Game One starter John Lackey would start Game Four on just three days rest. Lynn had pitched one inning of relief in Game Two.
Game Four is a must win game for St. Louis. A Cardinal victory would knot the series at two and would mean the series would return to St. Louis for the fifth and final game of the NLDS.
With a Chicago win, the Cubs win their first NLDS since 2003; and their first series win ever at home.
October baseball is truly unpredictable, nerve racking, and fun!
Thanks for reading!