The Chicago Cubs fell to 59-93 after losing 5-4 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, September 22. It was the second extra-inning loss of the week for the Cubs, who have lost five of their last six games. Chicago must now win four of the final 10 games of the season to avoid losing 100 games in 2012.
After being swept by the first-place Cincinnati Reds this week, the Cubs had a chance to impact the National League's wild card race by beating the Cardinals. The Cubs took the first game of the series on Friday and looked to have the second game won. Down 3-0 early on Saturday, Chicago battled back to take a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, the team's bullpen let the Cardinals come back to tie and then later win the game in the 10th inning.
As a Cubs fan, I'm happy any time the team is at least competitive these days. An extra inning loss is much better than a blowout defeat that is over before the seventh-inning stretch. It was great to see the Cubs battle back from a three-run deficit to take the lead and then keep it for most of the game.
Fans expect closer Carlos Marmol to allow runs at times, which is exactly what happened in the ninth inning when St. Louis tied the game on a Carlos Beltran home run. To me, giving up a homer to a hitter like Beltran is a lot better than walking three batters to surrender the tying run.
There were several positives in the game, beginning with starter Travis Wood's performance. He pitched five innings, allowed two runs and struck out seven in another decent outing. I am excited about what Wood has done down the stretch. Also, eight different Cubs players had base hits. While this won't set any records, it is an improvement over some recent games when three or fewer players have had all of the team's hits.
The Cubs can still win the series with a win in the finale on Sunday. The Cardinals currently have a hold on the last playoff spot, but I would like to see the Cubs make things a little less comfortable for them.
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.