Unfortunately, the Chicago Cubs dropped their series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers tonight, which means that there was no divisional clinching to celebrate … yet.
As I’m sure you know by now, the Cubs magic number was one at the start of play today. Any Cubs win or Cardinals’ loss, then, would reduce that magic number to zero and hand the division to the Cubs.
Well, the Cubs may not have won, but the Cardinals haven’t either. Indeed, the St. Louis Cardinals are currently playing a late one (West Coast game) against the San Francisco Giants, where anything can happen. If the Giants manage to win that game, the Cubs will still take home division tonight (minus all of the on-field fun and celebration).
The Giants are currently winning 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning, so the Cubs may yet clinch before you wake.
Otherwise, in a vacuum, the Cubs didn’t play too poorly tonight.
On offense, Jason Heyward had a couple of doubles, Miguel Montero went 2-3, and Jorge Soler hit a rocket-shot home run (114 MPH!) that left in a hurry. On defense, Addison Russell made a couple of throwing errors, but each of Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist made impressive diving stops in the field.
Then there was Mike Montgomery, who made the best start of his Cubs career on the night that it mattered the most (well, sorta). By the time he left, Montgomery had lasted 6.0 innings, giving up just 1 earned run (3 total) on four hits, 1 walk and seven strikeouts. You can’t discount how important a healthy and productive Montgomery can be in the playoffs – especially when he’s pitching at the level he did tonight.
In the end, a couple of doubles off Justin Grimm in the seventh and a few missed opportunities from the Cubs in the eighth – including the tying run just 90 feet away – sealed their fate. Oh well.
And hey, they’ll either win it tonight as you dream of hot dogs and Old Style, or they’ll get another shot at clinching it on the field tomorrow (the Cubs once again play before the Cardinals do on the West Coast). So just remember, it’s going to happen sooner or later – it’s just a matter of time.
Also, best wishes to Brett, the Misses, and his soon-to-be littlest! This night will be a celebration, yet!