nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

Cubs clinch division, heating up at right time

30 September 2017, 03:50 | Nina Perez

Cubs clinch division, heating up at right time

Cubs clinch division, heating up at right time

The Chicago Cubs are back in the MLB playoffs for the third year in a row after they clinched the National League Central with Wednesday's 5-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (7-3, 3.50) will face visiting Cincinnati and RHP Robert Stephenson (5-6, 4.86) on Friday. With most of their talent returning, a World Series hangover for Chicago let the Cardinals back in the division race this season-before dealing the definitive deathblow to the Cardinals through the head-to-head series. This clinching was special for several reasons, starting with their 46-24 record after the All-Star break that saw them overcome a 5-game deficit.

"After a couple steps, it was the right time to jump", Martin said.

"It kind of summed up the year when he robbed it", DeJong said. When I watch in the playoffs, it's because our season was over. It's also the first time a defending World Series Champion has won their division the following season since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies.

"It was tough", starter John Lackey said.

Michael Wacha battled with Lackey through the first six innings only giving up two singles, one came off the bat of Jon Jay to lead off the game. The hit was his second in the majors and produced his first RBI. He's one of the best teammates and one of the best people I've ever got to play with.

A collision between a player and a fan at last night's Chicago Cubs game has gone viral. "Here's to one h- of a (expletive) career", Lester said while toasting his buddy.

As for Russell, he coped with a slump and a publicized divorce filing before plantar fasciitis sidelined him for six weeks until his return September 16. Hendricks has allowed two runs in his last 13.2 innings and has allowed no more than three runs in each of his last 10 starts.

"We're not taking anything for granted". It earned him a spot in the rich lore and history of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. They beat the Braves in a 2013 NLDS before losing to the Cardinals, and previous year beat the Nationals before losing to the Cubs.

Top Play (WPA): Wacha cruised into the seventh having allowed only three baserunners, but a leadoff walk to Anthony Rizzo began to turn the game's momentum. The Cardinals only run came on a Dexter Fowler ground out in the sixth inning that scored Tommy Pham.

"It definitely was on objective", Pham told reporters.

Commenting on the incident, Chicago Tribune quoted Russell as saying, "Normally I don't do that, but being the case of me being nacho'd all over, my cleats even, I was like, you know what, why not?" "It's a bad method of trying to put dots together".

Bryant hit his 29th homer of the season in the second with two outs for a 5-0 Cubs lead. You pitch guys inside, sometimes they get hit.

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