The Chicago Cubs were dealt a bad hand this postseason. After finishing with the third-best record in the MLB, the Cubs were forced to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in a win or go home Wild Card Game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Jake Arrieta, who posted a 0.75 ERA in 107.1 innings after the All-Star break, threw a complete game shutout to defeat the Pirates, 4-0, in the win or game home contest. After clearing one tough hurdle, the Cubs were in for another challenge in the form of the best team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals.
In Game 1, the Cardinals came away with 4-0 win, thanks to a dominating performance out of starting pitcher John Lackey. After that loss, the Cubs bats came alive, especially in Game 3 where they hit six home runs.
Holding onto a 2-1 lead, the Cubs had a chance to clinch a series for the first time ever in front of the Wrigley Field faithful. But there was one potential problem. They needed to muster up some offense against the same pitcher who had his way with Chicago in Game 1.
The Cardinals struck early, setting the tempo after scoring two runs in the first inning. This time, though, the Cubs got to Lackey to the tune of four earned runs over three innings. The Cards were able to claw their way back and tie up at four the game in the top of the sixth inning. Then, the Cubs' power bats struck again.
Solo home runs in back-to-back innings by Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber gave the Cubs a slim 6-4 lead which they were able to hold onto for the remainder of the game.
With the victory, the Cubs will play in the NLCS for the first time since the infamous Steve Bartman incident took place. Which National League team stands in the way of the Cubs' from making their first World Series appearance in 70 years? Stay tuned.
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