2015 National League Division Series 1
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|2015 National League Division Series|
97 - 65 in the NL
|3 - 1
|St. Louis Cardinals|
100 - 62 in the NL
|1||Chicago Cubs 0 St. Louis Cardinals 4||October 9||Jon Lester (0-1) John Lackey (1-0)||6:30 pm|
|2||Chicago Cubs 6 St. Louis Cardinals 3||October 10||Kyle Hendricks (0-0) Jaime Garcia (0-1)||5:30 pm|
|3||St. Louis Cardinals 6 Chicago Cubs 8||October 12||Michael Wacha (0-1) Jake Arrieta (1-0)||6:00 pm|
|4||St. Louis Cardinals 4 Chicago Cubs 6||October 13||John Lackey (1-0) Jason Hammel (0-0)||4:30 pm|
Game 1 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: John Lackey (1-0), LP: Jon Lester (0-1)|
|Home Runs: STL - Tommy Pham (1), Stephen Piscotty (1)|
- Attendance: 47,830
In Game 1, the Cardinals' John Lackey took things in hand by himself, allowing on 2 hits over 7 1/3 innings getting the Cards on their way to a 4-0 shutout of the Cubs. There had not been much difference between the two NL Central Division rivals during the season, but by finishing three games ahead of the Cubs, the Cards had forced them to play the Wild Card Game on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and thus avoided having to face the red hot Jake Arrieta in this game. The Cubs had another seasoned postseason veteran on hand, though, and a former teammate of Lackey with the Boston Red Sox in Jon Lester, but he was not the unhittable Arrieta.
The Cardinals got on the scoreboard quickly, as in the 1st inning Stephen Piscotty hit a one-out double that bounced in the stands and Matt Holliday immediately drove him in with a single. Surprisingly, for two teams known for their hitting prowess, this would be the only run on the board until the 8th inning. Lackey retired the Cubs in order in the first three innings before allowing a one-out walk to Kyle Schwarber in the 4th; he was immediately erased in a double play. Lester was not quite as stingy, but he kept the Cardinals from adding to their lead as well. In the 6th, the Cubs finally managed to place a man in scoring position when Addison Russell hit a lead-off single, stole second and made it to third on a ground ball by Lester that became the second out; however, Dexter Fowler flew out to deep right, blowing Chicago's best chance to tie the score.
The Cubs had another runner erased in a double play in the 7th, then in the 8th, Lackey gave way to Kevin Siegrist after recording the first out. Siegrist retired both Chris Coghlan and Russell on strikes to move St. Louis within three outs of the win. The Cardinals then gave themselves some breathing space in the bottom of the inning when Tommy Pham, pinch-hitting for Siegrist, homered to left with one out. Matt Carpenter then drew a walk, ending Lester's night. Pedro Strop took over on the mound and David Ross allowed a passed ball, then Piscotty hit a pitch beyond the left field fence to double the lead to 4-0. There was little suspense left as Trevor Rosenthal came in to close the ballgame. He struck out Chris Denorfia but walked pinch-hitter Jorge Soler before striking out Fowler for the second out. Schwarber hit a single to put a second runner on base, but Rosenthal then struck out Kris Bryant to end the game.
Game 2 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Travis Wood (1-0), LP: Jaime Garcia (0-1), SV: Hector Rondon (1)|
|Home Runs: STL - Matt Carpenter (1), Kolten Wong (1), Randal Grichuk (1); CHI - Jorge Soler (1)|
- Attendance: 47,859
Unlike the battle of playoff veterans in game 1, Game 2 featured a couple of pitchers who had not necessarily been viewed as front-liners when the season began. The Cubs had second-year man Kyle Hendricks, who had had trouble getting wins early in the year but had pitched well down the stretch, while the Cardinals featured Jaime Garcia, back from a number of injuries, but who would likely not have been considered for a postseason starting assignment had not Carlos Martinez gone down with a late-season injury. The game was thus viewed as wide-open with no clear favorite.
As had happened in Game 1, the Cardinals scored first, in the bottom of the 1st as lead-off hitter Matt Carpenter took Hendricks deep. However, this time, the lead did not last until the late innings, as the Cubs put up a crooked number in the 2nd. Starlin Castro led off with a single but was forced out by Austin Jackson. However, in trying to turn a double play, 2B Kolten Wong threw wildly to first, allowing Jackson to take an extra base. He then stole third base and Miguel Montero walked, spelling trouble for Garcia. Hendricks was asked to lay down a squeeze bunt and executed the strategy perfectly, allowing Jackson to score the tying run while Garcia threw wildly to first, and Montero went to third and Hendricks to second. If the squeeze bunt had worked once, why not try it again? Addison Russell was asked to do so and again laid down a good one, scoring Montero, although this time, Garcia threw him out at first. Still, Hendricks was now on third base and he scored the third run when Dexter Fowler hit an infield single. Next up was Jorge Soler, and he homered to center, making the score 5-1. Garcia left after the inning, officially because of stomach flu, but it might as well have been because of his inability to get the Cubs out.
The Cubs added another run in the 3rd as Anthony Rizzo drew a lead-off walk against Lance Lynn then moved to third on a single by Castro. A ground out by Montero plated him for a 6-1 lead. Meanwhile Hendricks was pitching well until the 5th, when trouble found him. After a couple of strikeouts, he coughed up a gopher ball to Wong and another to pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk. That ended his night one out shy of qualifying for the win, and Travis Wood recorded the final out of the inning by striking out Carpenter. That was actualy all the scoring on the night. The Cardinals' relievers quieted the Cubs bats starting in the 4th, while Wood pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings. In the 7th, the Cubs threatened against Seth Maness, with a lead-off double by Fowler followed by a walk to Soler. Bryant forced out Soler with a ground ball, then Adam Wainwright got Rizzo to line out to first and Castro to ground out to end the inning without any run coming across.
Trevor Cahill took over for Wood in the 8th, pitching a perfect inning, then in the 9th, closer Hector Rondon was summoned. He allowed a single to Jason Heyward but nothing else. The game ended and the series was tied.
Game 3 @ Wrigley Field
|WP: Jake Arrieta (1-0), LP: Michael Wacha (0-1)|
|Home Runs: CHI - Kyle Schwarber (1), Starlin Castro (1), Kris Bryant (1), Anthony Rizzo (1), Jorge Soler (2), Dexter Fowler (1); STL - Jason Heyward (1), Stephen Piscotty (2)|
- Attendance: 42,411
The Cubs won Game 3 with a barrage of six homers, a postseason record, by six different players, to outlast the Cardinals, 8-6. The Cardinals added two long balls, for a total of eight, also a postseason record. One could have expected a low-scoring game, given that the pitching match-up featured a pair of All-Stars, one of whom, Jake Arrieta for the Cubs, was the hottest pitcher around. His opponent, Michael Wacha was no slouch either, but neither of them was able to shut down the opponent in this game.
The first blow came in the 2nd inning when Kyle Schwarber connected with a homer with one out against Wacha, but, apart from that, things were relatively quiet in the first third of the game. In the 4th, Arrieta has some control issues, starting the inning by walking Stephen Piscotty and Matt Holliday. He struck out Jason Heyward for the first out, but Jhonny Peralta followed with a double that tied the game, and Holliday scored on a ground out by Tommy Pham. That one-run lead hardly lasted however, as Starlin Castro connected off Wacha with one out in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at 2-2. One out later, Addison Russell hit a triple, but he had to leave the game when he injured a hamstring in running it out and his replacement, Javier Baez, was left stranded when Arrieta struck out for the last out after an intentional walk to Miguel Montero.
The Cubs got going seriously in the 5th as Jorge Soler singled with one out and Kris Bryant, who had been quiet in the series thus far, launched a two-run homer. Cards manager Mike Matheny brought in lefty specialist Kevin Siegrist to face Anthony Rizzo at this point, but the strategy did not work as the Cubs' first baseman connected for a solo homer and a 5-2 lead. After another out, the Cubs put runners on second and third with a walk, a single and a stolen base, but Montero struck out to end the inning. Having escaped a potential huge inning, the Cardinals replied immediately in the 6th when Holliday led off with a walk and scored on Heyward's two-run homer that made the score 5-4. Arrieta struck out the next two batters, bringing his total on the night to 9, but plunked Brandon Moss, who was pinch-hitting for Yadier Molina, forced out of the game when he apparently aggravated his pre-existing thumb injury. At this point, Cubs manager Joe Maddon replaced Arrieta with Clayton Richard, who recorded the last out.
Seth Maness came in to pitch the bottom of the 6th for St. Louis, but he allowed a single to Chris Coghlan, pinch-hitting for Richard. Dexter Fowler moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt and Matheny turned to his ace-in-the-hole, Adam Wainwright, to face Soler. Again, the strategy did not work, as Soler connected for a homer, increasing the lead to 7-4. Trevor Cahill took over on the mound for Chicago in the 7th and put a couple of men on base after striking out the first two batters of the inning, prompting Maddon to call on Travis Wood. He got Heyward to line out for the final out. In the bottom of the 8th, it was Fowler who homered for the Cubs, against Jonathan Broxton, for a four-run lead. The Cubs brought in closer Hector Rondon to pitch the 9th and after one out, he allowed a single to Randal Grichuk. Rondon got Matt Carpenter to fly out for out number two, but Piscotty followed with a homer - the record-setting eighth of the game - to make the score, 8-6. This turned out to be the final score, as Holliday ended the game by grounding out to second.
Game 4 @ Wrigley Field
|WP: Trevor Cahill (1-0), LP: Kevin Siegrist (0-1), SV: Hector Rondon (2)|
|Home Runs: STL - Stephen Piscotty (3); CHI - Javier Baez (1), Anthony Rizzo (2), Kyle Schwarber (2)|
- Attendance: 42,411
In Game 4, the Cubs did something that had never been done in the team's long history, which is to clinch a postseason series at Wrigley Field. By beating the Cardinals, 6-4, they punched their ticket to the NLCS. The pitching match-up, on paper, was favorable to the Cards, however, as they had ace John Lackey starting, coming off a superb performance in Game 1, while the Cubs went with fourth starter Jason Hammel, one of their few players with postseason experience, but someone who had struggled in the second half. He was on a short leash, as manager Joe Maddon had Justin Grimm warming up as soon as the 1st inning, but did just enough to put his team in a position to win. Both teams were missing a starting player because of injury, with Tony Cruz starting at catcher for the Cardinals in place of Yadier Molina, and Javier Baez in place of Addison Russell at shortstop for Chicago.
The Cardinals struck very quickly, stunning the crowd by taking a 2-0 lead on only four pitches: Matt Carpenter led off the game with a single and Stephen Piscotty followed with his third homer of the series. Hammel then walked Jason Heyward with one out, prompting Maddon to start warming up Grimm, but he got the next two batters to escape without further damage. Lackey started off strong, getting the Cubs in order including strikeouts of Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant in a quick 1st inning. In the 2nd, Hammel gave up a two-out, broken bat single to Lackey, but nothing else, and the game turned in the bottom of that inning. Anthony Rizzo beat a defensive shift by tapping a two-strike pitch towards the deserted area near third base, getting a single as a result. Starlin Castro forced him out, but Kyle Schwarber followed with a single. Lackey struck out Miguel Montero for the second out and due up was Hammel, batting in the 8th spot in Maddon's idiosyncratic batting order that had a position player batting 9th. There was speculation that Hammel would give way to a pinch-hitter, but instead he hit the first pitch from Lackey, a hanging breaking ball, into center field, scoring a run. Baez followed. He crushed a pitch to deep right field for a three-run homer, and suddenly, the Cubs were ahead, 4-2, and the crowd was back in the game.
The score held until the 6th. Hammel got two quick outs in the 3rd, walked Heyward for a second time and then picked him off first base to end the inning. When he walked Jhonny Peralta to lead off the 4th, however, he was lifted for Grimm. The Cards put a second man on, courtesy of an error by 3B Bryant, but Grimm then struck out the next three batters, the last being Tommy Pham, pinch-hitting for Lackey. Thus both starters were out of the game after only three innings. Adam Wainwright came in for St. Louis and he got the Cubs out in order in the bottom of the 4th. Travis Wood was next to pitch for Chicago in the 5th, and he made it five straight strikeouts before Matt Holliday ended a 1-2-3 inning by flying out to center. For their part, the Cubs continued to go down meekly, having used the minimum number of hitters after Baez's homer. In the 6th, Heyward led off the inning with a single and Wood gave way to Trevor Cahill. He gave up a single to Peralta to put two on with no one out, but then struck out Randal Grichuk and Kolten Wong. Tony Cruz was up next, and the usually weak-hitting back-up catcher went against type by hitting a double to right, scoring Heyward, and moving Peralta to third. With Wainwright due up, Matheny sent in pinch-hitter Brandon Moss, who singled to right; Peralta scored easily, but Cruz was thrown out at the plate by RF Jorge Soler. The game was now tied, 4-4.
Kevin Siegrist was the next pitcher for the Cardinals. He got two quick outs in the bottom of the 6th, but was then ambushed by Rizzo, who drove a pitch into the right field stands to put the Cubs ahead again, 5-4. It was the second time the lefthanded-hitting Rizzo had homered off Siegrist in two days. The Cubs had to get through three more innings to clinch the win, however. Maddon first used Fernando Rodney, who got two outs but walked Piscotty; Clayton Richard then faced Heyward, who had reached base all three times he had been up in the game, and struck him out to end the 7th. Schwarber then launched a monstrous home run to right field off Siegrist to lead off the bottom of the frame, giving the Cubs more breathing room. Pedro Strop was sent to pitch the 8th and got the Cards out in order on a pair of strikeouts and a ground ball, and it was now up to closer Hector Rondon to finish things off. He got Cruz to ground out and struck out Mark Reynolds, who had come into the game in a double switch. Carpenter managed to extend the inning by singling to left, but Rondon then struck out Piscotty to end the game and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy.
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series