The Chicago Cubs had a golden opportunity to make some noise against division rival Milwaukee and to stymie the Atlanta Braves in their quest to become the National League East division champions. The Cubs failed on all fronts.
The club had a chance to make some movement in the division to at least save themselves from the NL Central division cellar by defeating the Brewers in a four game series. However, the Brewers took three out of four, further cementing the Cubs role as the division door mat.
Monday’s game against the Brewers saw the Cubs hung with a 6-1 loss but even worse was a fully displayed heated exchange between Cubs starter Edwin Jackson and manager Dale Sveum. Sveum had decided to lift Jackson in the fifth inning for a pinch hitter, ending the starters day after four innings of work. Jackson was livid and let Sveum know of his displeasure.
The controversy didn’t end there as Jeff Samardzija had an argument with Cubs third base coach David Bell about the defensive positioning of first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Tuesday. Rizzo’s positioning allowed for Brewer Norichika Aoki to drive a triple past the Cubs’ first baseman. As in the previous argument with Sveum and Jackson, both parties downplayed the spat’s significance. Samardzija ended up finishing the inning and reached 200 innings pitched for the season as well as having 200 strikeouts in 2013. The Cubs ended up losing in the ninth.
The Cubs ended their 11-game road trip with a 5-1 victory in which Jake Arrieta pitched masterfully.
The Cubs returned back to Chicago and the Friendly Confines to host the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs ended up losing two out of three to the Braves but most importantly the Cubs saw the Braves clinch a playoff berth on Sunday. The Braves had actually clinched the NL East during the game after the Washington Nationals had lost their Sunday tilt. However, the Braves still ended up beating the Cubs and celebrated on the Cubs’ home field, a humiliating moment for the rebuilding franchise.
Next week is the final week of the MLB regular season and the Cubs for the 2013 season. The Cubs will host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final series at Wrigley Field for the 2013 season. The Pirates may be in line for a playoff spot. Then the Cubs will travel to the rival St. Louis Cardinals to play their final three games of the regular season next weekend.