For Josh Eastern, good night everybody.
Thank you for following along tonight during the NL Wild Card game. VAVEL USA's coverage of the MLB Postseason continues tomorrow starting with the ALDS. Once again, the Cubs defeat the Pirates, 4-0.
Final line score: Pirates: 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 error. Cubs: 4 runs, 7 hits, 1 error
Kyle Schwarber was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, Dexter Fowler was 3-for-4 with 1 RBI
The Cubs had it going from the very beginning and move on to face the Cardinals starting on Friday.
FINAL: Cubs 4, Pirates 0. The Chicago Cubs are moving on to the NLDS as Jake Arrieta throws a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts
Bottom 9: Francisco Cervelli lines it weakly to second and the Cubs win
Bottom 9: Starling Marte grounds out to third base for the second out. The Cubs are one out away
Bottom 9: Andrew McCutchen grounds it weakly back to the pitcher for the first out
Bottom 9: The Pirates will send McCutchen, Marte and Cervelli to the plate down 4-0
To the bottom of the ninth we go! Arrieta coming back out for the ninth inning
Top 9: Addison Russell sends a liner down the left field line, but is thrown out at second base after a great throw by Marte.
Top 9: Miguel Montero grounds out to first base for the second out
Top 9: Starlin Castro lines out to shortstop for out number 1
Top 9: Pirates closer Mark Melancon comes on for the ninth inning.
End of 8: Cubs 4, Pirates 0. The Cubs are 3 outs away from advancing on to face the Cardinals in the NLDS
Bottom 8: Josh Harrison goes down swinging to end the inning as Arrieta has struck out 11. His season high for K's is 12
Bottom 8: Gregory Polanco sends a fly ball out to right field that Chris Denorfia takes care of easily. 2 outs
Bottom 8: Mike Morse, pinch hitting in the pitchers spot, singles to center
Bottom 8: Jake Arrieta gets Pedro Alvarez swining for the first out of the inning. 10 K's for Arrieta
Middle of the 8th: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Top 8: Austin Jackson goes down swinging as Joakim Soria strikes out the side in the 8th.
Top 8: Anthony Rizzo strikes out swinging for the 2nd out of the inning
Top 8: Kris Bryant goes down swinging. Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson said he went around
Top 8: Chris Denorfia draws a walk
Top 8: Joakim Soria takes over in relief, Josh Harrison moves to SS, and Aramis Ramirez takes over at 3B
End of 7: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Bottom 7: Kris Bryant makes a slick back hand at third to start a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning
Bottom 7: Aramis Ramirez pinch hitting for Jordy Mercer
Bottom 7: Arrieta gets Neil Walker to strikeout swinging. 1 out. Big bounce back by Arrieta
Arrieta is working harder now. Pirates knocking on the door
Bottom 7: Francisco Cervelli leads off the seventh with a single to left field
Chris Denorfia has taken over in RF for the Cubs
Middle of the 7th: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Top 7: Gregory Polanco makes a nice running catch to retire Dexter Fowler and end the inning
No one will be ejected, but warnings have been issued
Sean Rodriguez is fired up and was the most frustrated player as he just punched the gatorade bins in the dugout
Arrieta was removed from the scrum, but wasn't very happy when he was hit
The umpires will sort this out as Arrieta is standing on first base. The bullpens are returning to the bullpen
The HBP looked intentional. Emotions running high, no doubt
Top 7: Tony Watson hits Jake Arrieta and the benches have cleared
Top 7: Addison Russell strikes out swinging. 2 outs
Top 7: Alvarez makes a nice diving play at first on a ground ball hit by Miguel Montero and then flips to Tony Watson who has taken over in relief. 1 out
That was big time for Arrieta to hunker down and get Marte to ground into the inning ending double play. It was the most he's had to work all night, but he got out of it. Arrieta has thrown 74 pitches through 6 innings
End of 6: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Bottom 6: Starling Marte grounds into a HUGE 6-4-3 double play and the Cubs and Arrieta get out of their biggest jam of the night.
Bottom 6: Andrew McCutchen hits a hard grounder at Addison Russell at shortstop and he can't make the play going to his left. Had no play as the ball ate him up. Bases loaded, 1 out for Starling Marte
Bottom 6: Arrieta hits Josh Harrison on a breaking ball and the Pirates have their best chance of the night with runners on first and second. McCutchen stepping in. 1 out
Bottom 6: Kris Bryant makes a spectacular catch while playing on the fringe of the grass. Gregory Polanco lined it right at Bryant at third. 1 out
Bottom 6: Pinch hitter Travis Snider lines a single up the middle for the Pirates' 2nd hit of the night. Back to the top of the order for the Pirates
Bottom 6: Travis Snider pinch hits in the pitchers spot while Austin Jackson takes over in left field and Kris Bryant takes over at third base
Middle of the 6th: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Top 6: Starlin Castro pops out to second base to end the inning as Bastardo puts the Cubs down 1-2-3
Top 6: Jackson goes down looking on a tough call. 2 outs
Top 6: Austin Jackson pinch hitting for Tommy La Stella
Top 6: Rizzo takes the count to 3-2, but strikes out looking on a nice pitch at the knees. 1 out
Top 6: Pedro Alvarez nearly makes a great catch hanging over the rail on an Anthony Rizzo pop fly, but can't come up with it. The AB continues
Cole's final line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits, 4 K's, 1 walk
Top 6: Gerrit Cole's night is over as lefty Antontio Bastardo takes over in relief
End of 5: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Bottom 5: Pedro Alvarez goes down looking to end the inning as Arrieta tallies his 8th K of the night
Bottom 5: Jordy Mercer goes down looking on a nasty Arrieta breaking ball. It's Arrieta's seventh K of the night. 2 outs
Bottom 5: Neil Walker sends a lazy fly ball into left field and Kris Bryant makes an easy catch for out number 1
Bottom 5: Arrieta goes up and in on Francisco Cervelli inadvertantly and Cervelli gets first base as the pitch nicked his finger. The fans in Pittsburgh are irrate.
Middle of the 5th: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Top 5: Kris Bryant sends a hard liner right at Jordy Mercer at shortstop to end the inning.
Top 5: Schwarber flies out to center field. 2 outs
Top 5: IT'S GONE! Dexter Fowler continues his hot night at the plate with a solo home run to right field to put the Cubs up 4-0
Top 5: Cole strikes out Arrieta for the first out of the 5th
End of 4: Cubs 3, Pirates 0
Bottom 4: Starling Marte grounds out 3-1 as Arrieta wins the race to the bag for the third out of the inning.
Bottom 4: Andrew McCutchen lines out to right field for out number 2. Arrieta is dominating
Bottom 4: Josh Harrison sends a fly ball to right field and Kyle Schwarber makes an easy catch for out number 1
Middle of the 4th: Cubs 3, Pirates 0
Top 4: Gerrit Cole gets Addison Russell swinging to end the inning.
Top 4: Miguel Montero lines a pitch into center for a 2-out single. It is the first hit by a Cub not named Schwarber or Fowler
Top 4: Josh Harrison makes a nice throw from deep third base to get Starlin Castro for the second out of the inning.
Top 4: Tommy La Stella grounds out to first base for the first out of the inning
Jake Arrieta has been unbelievable so far and 3 run deficit for the Pirates is looking pretty insurmountable right now. Arrieta is on his game
End of 3: Cubs 3, Pirates 0
Bottom 3: Gregory Polanco strikes out for the final out of the inning as Arrieta strikes out the side. He has thrown 37 pitches through 3 innings with 6 K's
Bottom 3: Arrieta strikes out Cole on 3 pitches for the second out of the inning and Arrieta's 5th K of the game
Bottom 3: Alvarez goes down swinging on a nasty breaking ball for Arrieta's 4th strikeout of the game
Bottom 3: Pedro Alvarez is pinch hitting for Sean Rodriguez
Middle of the 3rd: Cubs 3, Pirates 0
Top 3: Anthony Rizzo pops it up and shortstop Jordy Mercer makes an over the shoulder catch and then throws to first to double off Bryant and end the inning.
Top 3: Gerrit Cole walks Kris Bryant with one out in the third and the bullpen is starting to move for the Pirates
Top 3: KYLE SCHWARBER! He UNLOADS on a pitch and sends it out of PNC Park for a two-run home run to put the Cubs up 3-0.
Top 3: Back to the top of the order for the Cubs and Dexter Fowler checks in with his second hit of the night on a single to right
Top 3: Gerrit Cole strikes out his counterpart Jake Arrieta on 3 pitches for out number 1
End of 2: Cubs 1, Pirates 0
Bottom 2: Jordy Mercer hits a lazy fly ball to center for out number 3. An easy 1-2-3 inning for Arrieta and the Cubs.
Bottom 2: Neil Walker strikes out swinging for Arrieta's third strikeout of the night. 2 outs
Bottom 2: Francisco Cervelli hits a hard ground ball right at first baseman Anthony Rizzo for out number 1
Middle of the 2nd: Cubs 1, Pirates 0. Due Up: Francisco Cervelli, Neil Walker, Jordy Mercer
Top 2: Addison Russell sends a fly ball to center field and Andrew McCutchen tracks it down to end the inning
Top 2: Miguel Montero grounds out 6-3. 2 outs
Top 2: Gerrit Cole makes a nice play on a high chop and fires a seed over to first base to beat a hustling Starlin Castro. 1 out
Settle in folks, we got a good one on our hands.
End of 1: Cubs 1, Pirates 0
Bottom 1: Arrieta brings the heat on 0-2 to strike out Starling Marte and end the first inning.
Bottom 1: Andrew McCutchen checks in with Pittsburgh's first hit of the night as he singles up the middle.
Bottom 1: Josh Harrison grounds out 4-3 for the second out of the inning.
Bottom 1: Jake Arrieta strikes out Gregory Polanco for the first out of the inning.
Arrieta puts his 13-0 record and 1.60 ERA on the road on the line as he takes the hill.
Cole had his struggles in that first inning throwing 22 pitches and giving up one run on two hits while striking out 1. We'll see how Arrieta responds.
Middle of the First: Cubs 1, Pirates 0
Top 1: Tommy La Stella strikes out looking to end the top of the first.
Top 1: Rizzo grounds a ball into the shift to Neil Walker in short right field, but skips the throw to first base and Sean Rodriguez couldn't handle at first base and Rizzo reaches with 2 outs.
Top 1: Kris Bryant grounds into a 5-4-3 double play. 2 outs, none on for Anthony Rizzo.
Top 1 (no outs): Kyle Schwarber lines a ball down the left field line to score Fowler from second and check in with an RBI single to put the Cubs up 1-0.
Top 1: Dexter Fowler swipes second base. Kyle Schwarber at the plate for the Cubs
Top 1: Dexter Fowler lines a 3-1 fastball into center field for Chicago's first hit of the night.
68 degrees at first pitch
We're underway from Pittsburgh! Dexter Fowler stepping in for the Cubs to face Gerrit Cole for the Pirates.
Umpires for tonight's game: Home plate: Jeff Nelson, First Base: Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base: John Hirschbeck, Third Base: Jim Reynolds, Left Field: Mike Estabrook, Right Field: Cory Blaser
Hello everyone and welcome to VAVEL USA's coverage of the 2015 National League Wild Card Game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. My name is Josh Eastern. We are around 10 minutes until first pitch.
As for the Pirates, Pedro Alvarez is not in the lineup in favor of Sean Rodriguez at first base. I mentioned earlier that Alvarez's defense was worrisome and that could be the reason for Rodriguez getting the nod. Look for Alvarez to pinch hit some time in this game, however.
A few interesting notes here with these lineups: Kris Bryant is making his fifth career start in left field while Kyle Schwarber moves to right field and Tommy La Stella slots in at third base.
Pittsburgh Pirates lineup: Gregory Polanco-RF, Josh Harrison-3B, Andrew McCutchen-CF, Starling Marte-LF, Francisco Cervelli-C, Neil Walker-2B, Jordy Mercer-SS, Sean Rodriguez-1B, Gerrit Cole-P
Chicago Cubs lineup: Dexter Fowler-CF, Kyle Schwarber-RF, Kris Bryant-LF, Anthony Rizzo-1B, Tommy La Stella-3B, Starlin Castro-2B, Miguel Montero-C, Addison Russell-SS, Jake Arrieta-P
So, will it be the Cubs that walk the plank at the hands of the Pirates, or will the lovable losers finally make a run at, dare I say, a World Series title? It all starts tonight!
Another matchup to watch will be the speed of the Pirates against catcher Miguel Montero of the Cubs. The Pirates stole the seventh most bases in the league this season with 98, and if they need to get a runner into scoring position late in the game, this will be a matchup to keep your eye on.
If the two starting pitchers can’t carry the load for eight or nine innings, putting up zeros on the scoreboard from the bullpen is mandatory. A run or two in late innings could be insurmountable, that is why getting an early run will be another key to this ballgame.
As for Alvarez, his offense will be key, but it’s his defense that could be the deciding factor. He has had his struggles at first base this season and has made some costly errors that have hurt his team in some ball games. These type of games are all about limiting mistakes, and if Alvarez can keep a clean sheet, that will help his team tremendously. Especially with Arrieta on the mound, you want to help this Cubs team as little as possible.
Fowler will be key in this game as he has been the leadoff hitter for this team for most of the season. If he can be the catalyst of this offense and get on base for the big guns in this Cubs line up like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber, that could be a key factor in the game.
If this writer had to name one key player for each side that isn’t necessarily the team’s star player, it would be Dexter Fowler for the Cubs and Pedro Alvarez for the Pirates.
To go along with these high stakes, two of baseball’s best pitchers will be on the mound for their respective teams. Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta will be taking the hill for the Cubs and will be opposed by Gerrit Cole for the Pirates. Arrieta comes in with a record of 22-6 and a 1.77 ERA. Cole’s numbers are nearly just as good as he is 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA. This is one of the best pitching matchups of the season. Offense in this game will be very tough to come by and it looks as if this will be a classic playoff game dominated by pitching.
This is the third straight year the Pirates are hosting the NL Wild Card and have gone 1-1 in those games as they lost a season ago to the San Francisco Giants while they beat the Cincinnati Reds in 2013. The crowd will be quite hostile as it has been so in the past. It will be interesting to see how this young Cubs team responds to this type of stage which most of them most likely haven’t played in in the past.
The Cubs were just one game away from hosting this Wild Card game, but instead will be taking their show on the road. That, however, may not be the worst thing in the world for the Cubs as they have a Major League leading 48 wins away from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
The Pirates (98-64) and the Cubs (97-65) come into this game as the second and third best teams in baseball, respectively, and will be fighting for their playoff lives tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Cubs have taken 11 of the 19 games these two teams have played this season.
Hello and welcome all to VAVEL USA's exclusive play-by-play live commentary between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card game. This game marks the start of the 2015 Major League Baseball Postseason in the National League. Both the Cubs and Pirates must win or else they will be heading home as this is just a one-game playoff. These National League Central rivals have faced 19 times this season, but it is the 20th matchup that will be the most important. Follow throughout the month of October (and maybe into November) as VAVEL USA brings you live coverage and recaps of all of the MLB Postseason action.