The Chicago Cubs were losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates by scores of 6-1 and 9-5 on Sunday, September 16. However, the Cubs fought back with eight unanswered runs to win the game 13-9, giving Chicago five wins over Pittsburgh in six meetings since September 7. While the Cubs have been out of playoff contention for months, the Pirates entered September with postseason hopes. The Pirates are now three games back in the wild card race and will face the Cubs one last time on Monday.
Late-season performances like this show signs of hope for Cubs fans. Hurting a team's playoff chances this season could pave the way for Septembers in the future when the Cubs might have a shot at the postseason themselves. The team is 58-88 and is attempting to avoid a 100-loss season, but fans should ignore the record and appreciate the effort down the stretch as the team refuses to concede games.
Future star Anthony Rizzo had a great game, collecting three hits, two home runs and six RBIs. As a Cubs fan, I am happy that Rizzo was able to play so much this year and that he should be able to enter 2013 with a bit of experience and confidence. Darwin Barney grabbed a couple of hits, while Starlin Castro stole his 25th base of the season. The young infielders are the core of this team moving ahead, and I expect games like this to be the norm very soon.
Veteran outfielder Alfonso Soriano continued his impressive season as well, reaching 101 RBIs for the year. Soriano's contract is a topic of debate among many Cubs fans, but his on-field efforts this season can't be ignored. While his defense is much-improved in spite of his obviously aging knees, this is now his first 100-RBI season with Chicago. Furthermore, he is now only three RBIs away from tying his career high of 104.
Starter Chris Volstad disappointed again, allowing six runs in under five innings. Fortunately, the offense helped out and brought the team back. I am now hoping to see the team finish out the Pirates series with a victory on Monday before welcoming the first place Cincinnati Reds to town on Tuesday.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.