The Cubs may be in the precarious position of playing the Rockies in the win-or-go-home National League wild-card game Tuesday night, but infielder and MVP candidate Javier Baez isn't lacking for confidence. The Chicago Cubs belong in the playoffs with 95 victories and a run differential of +116.
"He's a really good pitcher", Maddon said beforehand.
Nothing underscores how prone the Cubs were to offensive ineptitude more than the statistic unearthed by NBC Sports Chicago researcher Christopher Kamka: In 39 regular-season games this season, the Cubs scored one or fewer runs.
The Cubs went 6-5 down the stretch, which included a 3-1 loss to the Brewers in Game 163 on Monday that has led to them encountering the do-or-die game Tuesday at Wrigley Field. But what about the home run totals?
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The Rockies won it with three two-out singles in the 13th against Kyle Hendricks by Trevor Story, Gerardo Parra and Tony Wolters.
"Excited about it", manager Bud Black said.
They have three straight appearances in the NL Championship Series and a World Series championship in 2016 that ended a 108-year drought.
Carl Edwards Jr. was not among the 11 pitchers included on the 25-man roster released Tuesday morning by the Cubs, but Pedro Strop is active for the first time since September 13. And the Cubs have certainly won their share of elimination games the past four seasons.
With the Wild Card game being the true beginning of the postseason, both the Cubs and Rockies will be forced to cut down their rosters back to the 25-man limit. It will be the first-ever postseason meeting between the two franchises. Last year, they ran out of gas in the NLCS. Freeland left leading 1-0 with two outs in the seventh after giving up four measly hits and striking out six on 82 pitches.
"It's Jonny Lester, he's pitched in a few big games before, he's got a resume", said Anthony Rizzo of Lester.