Cubs

Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner goes completely off script before a Giant comeback

Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner goes completely off script before a Giant comeback

SAN FRANCISCO – Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner went completely off script before the San Francisco Giants wrote another classic ending as the playoff team that will not die.

“This is October baseball,” Arrieta said after a crazy 6-5 loss that took 13 innings, the Cubs wasting a golden opportunity to finish off the Giants and end this National League Division Series with a three-game sweep. “We know games are going to be very closely contested. These guys are no slouches. With their pedigree in the playoffs, we know we have our work cut out for us.”

With one swing, Arrieta had seemingly shattered the aura of invincibility around Bumgarner on Monday night, temporarily exposing the Giants as a team without any magic tricks left. It silenced a crowd that had been whipped into an orange-towel-waving frenzy. The Cubs turned AT&T Park’s visiting dugout into a mosh pit, celebrating as if they had just clinched.

Uh, wasn’t this still only the second inning? A team that designed a Party Room into the clubhouse as part of the $600 million Wrigleyville development reacted spontaneously and deliriously when Arrieta lined a 90-mph fastball into the left-field seats for a jaw-dropping three-run homer.

Bumgarner – who had willed the Giants through 23 scoreless innings in his last three postseason elimination games – leaned over on the mound with his hands on his knees and dropped his head. Anthony Rizzo gave Eric Hinske a bear hug in the dugout, lifting up the big assistant hitting coach as the Cubs jumped around in the dugout. Arrieta screamed as he reached home plate.

If Arrieta felt slighted by all the pregame attention paid to Bumgarner, all the questions about his fitness for October, he hid it pretty well on his stone face. Especially for someone with guts, a huge ego, an endorsement deal with an underwear company, a cover spot on ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue and a Boras Corp. attitude to play everything out until free agency and a potential nine-figure megadeal next winter.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!

This would automatically be remembered as The Arrieta Game, if Jake hadn’t already thrown two no-hitters in a Cubs uniform and a complete-game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in last year’s wild-card game. And if the rest of the night hadn’t involved so many different twists and turns, the Cubs five outs away from winning Game 3 before a Giant comeback.

Arrieta is an alpha male who wanted to be in the Home Run Derby this summer as soon as he heard about Bumgarner’s interest in the All-Star event. Arrieta takes his hitting seriously, homering twice and putting up a .720 OPS during the regular season. But relying so heavily on the pitchers for offense isn’t sustainable – Kyle Hendricks and Travis Wood drove in three of the five runs during a Game 2 victory at Wrigley Field.

A grinding mentality forced Bumgarner to throw 51 pitches through two innings. Giants reliever George Kontos actually warmed up in the second inning and never got in a game that lasted five hours and four minutes. The Cubs knocked out Bumgarner after five innings, but allowed the Giants to hang around and win their 10th consecutive postseason elimination game.

Arrieta still outdueled Bumgarner – giving up two runs across six innings and finishing with five strikeouts against one walk – and that’s not an insignificant takeaway for a Cubs rotation that will need to survive three playoffs rounds in a year set up as World Series or bust.

“We were that close,” Arrieta said. “But at the same time, we know the task isn’t going to be an easy one. These guys aren’t going to roll over and just let us clinch a series in their ballpark. We’re going to have to come out tomorrow and be ready to go again.”

Around midnight in the Bay Area, a reporter mentioned that it’s today already.

“It’s tough to not get up for games like this,” Arrieta said. “The emotions are just going to continue to run throughout the playoffs. And that’s kind of what you live on.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: What will David Ross' impact on the Cubs be like in 2020?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: What will David Ross' impact on the Cubs be like in 2020?

As new manager David Ross takes over for Joe Maddon, he intends to tweak the culture of the Cubs and set his own mark on the team. Jeff Nelson is joined by Outside the Ivy and Bleacher Nation's Michael Cerami to discuss what kind of impact David Ross will have on the 2020 Cubs, what should be expected from the pitching staff and bullpen, and the uncertainty of who plays in the outfield.

(1:36) - What does Ross' impact look like?

(8:28) - Concerns with the pitching staff

(16:00) - Will Craig Kimbrel be better this year?

(20:00) - Will Kris Bryant have enough rope to get used to leading off?

(25:05) - Who do you trust to play the outfield every day?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote put his sweet, sweet swing to special use on Tuesday.

Prior to the Cubs’ Cactus League game vs. the Rockies, a couple of Cubs fans asked Bote to partake in their gender reveal. The duo brought a powder-infused baseball, asking Bote to take a hack to reveal whether they’re having a boy or girl.

The father-to-be tossed the ball to Bote, who smashed it open to unleash a pink cloud of powder — signifying the couple will have a girl. The 26-year-old infielder — who has two daughters himself — threw his arms in the air to celebrate.

No matter how you feel about gender reveals, you’ve gotta love the uniqueness of this one and Bote partaking in the special moment. Here’s to a healthy life for the baby! 

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