A few hours after the Chicago Cubs handled their business against the St. Louis Cardinals, all eyes were on the Nationals. Washington is visiting Pittsburgh this weekend and were fighting for the best record in baseball.
Now, aside from the National League Central, the Cubs clinch home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. Before the Nats and Bucs took the field at PNC Park, Jake Arrieta turned in one heck of a performance.
Not only did Arrieta pitch well but the bullpen as a whole. In addition, right-hander Pedro Strop made his return to the active roster after suffering an injury. Strop sustained a torn meniscus which needed surgery and experienced a bit of a setback with his groin.
However, he managed to get himself back on track and into the bullpen once again. Perfect timing for the hard-throwing righty who took over for Jake in the eighth.
Which brings us back to the Pittsburgh Pirates. I know most of you are confused on why I chose to use a picture of the Pirates celebrating. And to be honest, it’s perfectly fine and should be with some of you.
Yes, the Chicago Cubs did their part by winning but it was up to the Pirates to help them out at the end of the day. Just like the San Francisco Giants took care of the Cardinals that clinched the Central for the Cubs.
Rally Bucs, Rally
Who knew the Pirates would play a key role in the Cubs having home-field advantage in both the National League Division and Championship Series? Either way, thank you to those Buccos who celebrated a walk-off victory.
Both teams got at each other early and often, as the Nationals jumped in front by three runs to zero in the second inning. Pittsburgh would not go down quietly as they tied things up over the next 1 1/2 inning.
This contest would roll into the 11th inning, late night as the game started at 6:05 p.m. central time. Catcher Francisco Cervelli hit a ground-rule double with one out in the frame. As a result, he would later come around to score on a single off the bat of Jacob Stallings.
In conclusion, the Cubs have an opportunity to win another series against the Cardinals later on this afternoon. Taking the mound for the home team will be Jason Hammel for the Cubs and Alex Reyes for the Redbirds.