Tag:Kerry Wood
Posted on: September 23, 2008 6:51 am

Cubs Clinch Homefield Advantage for NLCS

Cubs Clinch Home-Field on Marquis' Pitching/Bat

Flushing, New York

Monday's win at New York's Shea Stadium gaurantees the Cubs (95-60) will have home-field advantage for the NLDS and the NLCS if they are lucky enough to make it there.  That is great news for a team that finished with 55 home wins to 26 losses.

Chicago got things started in the top half of the 2nd when Mark De Rosa doubled with 2 outs.  One batter later, Reed Johnson drove him home on a base hit.  With the Cubs leading 1-0, things got shaky in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Delgado was able to score on a wild pitch that Geovany Soto didn't know where it went.  One inning later, with the game tied at 1 in the bottom half of the 3rd, New York capitalized off back to back doubles by Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy that gave the Metropolitans a 2-1 lead. 

However, Chicago would come roaring back.  Geovany Soto quickly got a 4th inning rally started with a double to left.  Soto would advance to third on De Rosa's single, and would later score when Reed Johnson came up and hit a single to center.  Ryan Theriot would single to load the bases for Cubs starting pitcher Jason Marquis.  Marquis proceeded to hit the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a grand slam.  That would be all for Jonathon Neise as he let 5 guys reach and 5 guys score in the inning while not retiring anyone. 

The Cubs would add three more runs to build their lead but the Mets scored twice on a David Wright home run in the bottom half of the 7th.  The Mets would actually get the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning as Carlos Beltran hit into a fielders choice that scored David Wright.  With two out, Ryan Church drew a walk, but Kerry Wood was called upon and he got Luis Castillo to strike out looking giving the Cubs the win 9-5.  Wood picked up his 33rd save in 39 tries. 

Player of the Game

Jason Marquis improved to 11-9 after pitching 6 2/3 innings allowing 4 Earned Runs on 8 hits while striking out 4 and walking 4.  Yet that is just half of it.  In the Cubs' 4th he hit a Grand Slam off Neise, and added another RBI in the 5th on a groundout.  Marquis was the first Cubs pitcher since Milt Pappas to drive in five runs.  Pappas accomplished the feat back in 1972 against the Mets at Wrigley, the same year that he threw his no-hitter which was the last one until Carlos Zambrano threw his 9 days ago. 

Rooting for a Rival

The idle Milwaukee Brewers were happy to see their nemesis win because they were trailing the Mets by 1 1/2 games in the Wild Card standings.  Milwaukee is now just a game back as they prepare for a three game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Many Brewers fans find themselves having no choice but to pull for Chicago to win, but will then be hoping to beat the Cubs when they head up to "Wrigley North" for a weekend series.  Chicago had previously swept a four game series at the end of July up at Miller Park that pushed Milwaukee from 1/2 game back to 4 1/2 games back in the National League Central Standings. 

 Greatest Show's Blog

Game stats Courtesy of http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/gamec

Posted on: September 21, 2008 4:47 am

Chicago Cubs 2008 N.L. Central division Champions

It's Offical!!  The Chicago Cubs have clinched the 2008 National League Central Division for the third time in 6 seasons. 

The Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 at Wrigley Field infront of 41,597 fans.  The Cubs started the scoring by getting 3 runs off of Joel Pineiro on an Alfonso Soriano 2-run single in the 2nd inning.  Brian Barton let the ball get by him and roll all the way to the wall, allowing a third run to score.  The Cubs would add two more runs in the bottom of the 4th on a Mark De Rosa double and a Ted Lilly suicide squeeze play giving them a 5-0 lead.  However, it wouldn't be a typical Cubs versus Cardinals game without the trailing team battling back.  In the St. Louis 6th, the Cardinals scored four runs with two outs on a Felipe Lopez RBI single and a Troy Glaus 3-Run homerun.  The game would continue 5-4 to the 9th inning giving Kerry Wood the chance to nail it down.  Wood would give up a leadoff walk to Glaus, but quickly retired the next three batters giving the Cubs the division title.  Wood picked up his 32nd save in 39 tries.  Ted Lilly improved to 16-9 with his 7 inning 4 earned run performance. 

September 20, 2008 would be the earliest a Cubs team has clinched a playoff spot since the 1932 Cubs.  The 1932 team ended up making it to the World Series, but lost to the New York Yankees

I find it appropriate that the Cubs clinched on September 20.  It gives Cubs fans a chance to see their team clinch at their field.  In 2003 and 2007 they had clinched the division on the road.  More Importantly it also comes 24 years to the day of the passing of Steve Goodman. 

For those of you that don't know who Steve Goodman is, he is the creator of the infamous song "Go Cubs Go" that you hear played at Wrigley after Cubs victories. 

Steve Goodman was born July 25, 1948 on Chicago's North Side.  He was a folk music singer/songwriter, but also a huge Cubs fan.  He was diagnosed with lukemia in early 1969.  Goodman wrote many songs on the Cubs, and the city of Chicago including "Go Cubs Go", "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request", "The Lincoln Park Pirates", and "Daley's Gone". 

On September 20, 1984, Goodman would lose his battle with lukemia dying at the age of 36.  Four days later the Chicago Cubs would clinch the National League East earning them their first postseason birth since 1945.  Goodman was asked to sing The National Anthem before the Cubs first playoff game, but he was replaced by Jimmy Buffett, whom dedicated the song to Goodman.  I know Steve Goodman is watching his Cubs down from heaven, and he is in good company with Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray. 


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