Morning Rewind, 9/8: First-year Cubs manager Joe Maddon takes team to new heights
By JOHN DORN
The Chicago Cubs are in third place -- that much has become relatively normal over the recent decades. But they're also the third-best team in the National League. That part is news.
First-year Cubs manager Joe Maddon has carried his magically winning ways into the Windy City, where Chicago's high-powered, young offense -- combined with some surprising pitching -- has taken the team into an almost guaranteed postseason position.
One of the teams standing in the way of a guaranteed NLDS appearance, though, is the St. Louis Cardinals. And what did Chicago do to those Cardinals yesterday? Oh, just a 9-0 rout that featured an eight-run barrage over the first three innings at Busch Stadium.
The Cubbies now sit 7.5 behind the Cardinals, but at 22 games over .500, they're two games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates for home field advantage in the NL's Wild Card matchup.
It's unfortunate that the current rules will boot one of the NL Central juggernauts from the postseason after just one game. But after more than a century of almost uninterrupted misery, Cubs fans aren't worried about that quite yet.
Cubs 9, Cardinals 0
Around the League
BOS 11, TOR 4
Entering the day with a 1.5-game lead in the AL East, the Blue Jays weren't able to capitalize on their weak opponent. Jackie Bradley had four RBIs, Travis Shaw drove in a pair, and Mark Buerhle was knocked out in the fourth inning.
NYM 8, WSH 5
There was a time this season where it didn't look like David Wright would ever get to play in a meaningful Major League game ever again. But here he is, right in the thick of a pennant race -- something he's been waiting seven years for. After blowing an early lead, the Mets offense rallied -- led by Yoenis Cespedes' continued tear -- and they expanded their East lead to five games.
OAK 10, HOU 9
The Astros remain in first place, but their lead is down to just two. Mike Fiers wasn't able to get the job done in Oakland, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks over his five innings. Oakland's cast of characters scratched together 10 runs on the 'Stros, opening up the series with a victory.
ARI 6, SF 1
As we enter the heart of September baseball, it's looking less and less likely that the Giants will pull a Giants on us again. They're now 8.5 games back in the division and nine behind the Cubs for the final Wild Card spot.
TEX 3, SEA 0
After appearing dead in the water before the trade deadline, the Rangers now sit in an AL Wild Card spot, with a 1.5-game lead over the Twins. Four Rangers pitchers shut the Mariners out at Safeco Field.
NYY 8, BAL 6
It's only been 22 games for Greg Bird in a Yankees uniform, but the rookie has already mashed five homers over his first big league call-up. Alex Rodriguez also hit his 29th of the year, and the Yanks' pen was able to close out the O's.
MIN 6, KC 2
Clinging onto playoff contention, the Twins needed a win over the AL-leading Royals to remain just 1.5 games out of the Wild Card, and they got it on Monday. Aaron Hicks homered and Eduardo Escobar drove in three to knock off Kansas City in its home park.
LAD 7, LAA 5
The latest installment of the Freeway Series begins in the Angels favor, boosting them to just two games out of a playoff spot and knocking the Dodgers down to 79-58.
- CLE 3, CWS 2
- COL 6, SD 4
- DET 5, TB 4
- MIL 9, MIA 1
- CIN 3, PIT 1
- ATL 7, PHI 2
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