RECAP: Cubs’ Season Ends in Disappointing Fashion
The Chicago Cubs’ 2020 season came to an end on Friday afternoon as their bats remained silent in a 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins.
As the Cubs were fighting for their playoff lives, the North Siders trotted out Cy Young candidate Yu Darvish in game two of the NL Wild Card Series against the Marlins.
Neither team was able to get much going early. Both pitchers, Darvish and Marlins’ young star Sixto Sanchez, were flirting with perfection and no-no’s early. The Cubs spoiled the bid in the third inning with an Ian Happ single while Darvish lost his spotless performance in the fourth.
The fourth inning was the first moment of the game where panic set in for Cubs fans, and potentially for players alike. Darvish allowed two baserunners on a Jon Berti base hit and a plunking of Jesus Aguilar. However, Darvish induced a much-needed double play and then struck out Garrett Cooper on a filthy slider to end the threat for the Marlins.
In the fourth inning, the Cubs finally threatened with two men on. However, that threat subsided when Willson Contreras was thrown out at the plate by Matt Joyce on a Jason Heyward broken-bat single.
Both teams found a way to save base runners as Kyle Schwarber gunned down Miguel Rojas at second after he hit a ball off the wall in left field. Rojas was originally called safe, but after a challenge, it was confirmed that David Bote got the tag in on the Schwarber assist and saved a double.
Darvish continued to shove, keeping the Marlins off the board with complete filth. However, the bats continued to disappoint. With bases loaded in the fifth inning, the Cubs could not scratch even a single run across the plate. Victor Caratini, Ian Happ, and Willson Contreras all reached safely. Bote then flew out, Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging, and Kyle Schwarber flew out to left to end the threat for the home team.
Through six innings, Darvish continued to show why he is in consideration for the NL Cy Young and why he’s arguably been the best pitcher in the majors since the second half of 2019.
To begin the home half of the sixth, Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly removed Sixto Sanchez from the game and went to the bullpen. Brad Boxberger entered the game and got out of the inning easily, sending this do-or-die game to a scoreless draw to begin the seventh.
In what feels like traditional Cubs’ fashion, Garrett Cooper got a hold of what may have been the first pitch Darvish hung all day when he sent a solo shot into the left-field bleachers. The Marlins had a 1–0 lead and it felt like that would be all that was needed.
Fortunately for the Marlins, that wasn’t all they would get. Matt Joyce followed Cooper’s home run with a double and Lewis Brinson entered as a pinch-runner. The Cubs elected to intentionally walk Miguel Rojas to bring Magneuris Sierra to the plate. The outfielder came through with a single that plated Brinson.
The Cubs escaped the inning after Craig Kimbrel came on to record the last out, but the damage had already been done as the Marlins took their lead into the eighth inning after sitting the Cubs down in order.
As the game rolled on, the Cubs offense remained dormant and the Marlins did exactly what they wanted with them. Jeremy Jeffress got the Cubs through the ninth in clean fashion, making his and Kimbrel’s performances one of the only Cubs’ bright spots in game two.
In the final frame, Jason Heyward doubled to start things off. But Javier Baez, David Bote, and Jason Kipnis all struck out to end the game and ultimately the season. Yes, you read that right: the Cubs were swept by the Miami Marlins.
For the postgame reactions and analysis, be sure to tune in to Cubs On Tap wherever you listen to podcasts.