Fanning 18 times, snapping win streak can't dampen Cubs' spirits
The Chicago Cubs weren't pleased that they're nine-game win streak came to an end on Sunday against the crosstown White Sox, but after exhaling, they realized that on the 16th day of August they had only lost for the second time in the month.
The Cubs' hot bats were cooled considerably by White Sox ace Chris Sale, who struck out 15 of the 18 Cubs batters who went down on strikes.
They go into Monday's much-needed day off having won 15 of 17 games, leading recent sweep victims the San Francisco Giants by 3.5 games for the second wild-card spot and 2.5 games behind Pittsburgh for home-field advantage in the wild-card playoff game.
"We do need this day (off)," Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after Sunday's loss. "The day is good for everybody. These are three games (against the Sox) where the weather was extremely warm."
Even with the dominant pitching performance by the White Sox, the Cubs also take away from the game that they still brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning and had a bases-loaded opportunity against Sale in the sixth, but this time the heroics did not materialize.
"That had a playoff moment attached to it in a visceral sense," Maddon said of the sixth-inning threat. "It was all about the crowd, the moment, the bases loaded. Everyone is going nuts.
I know we didn't get the hit we were looking for, but all those moments are going to contribute to our guys doing really well when it gets to September and eventually into October. So I was pleased with all that."
(h/t Chicago Tribune)