On Wednesday evening, the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers met at Comerica Park for a winner takes all game in the last matchup of the season for the two teams. When I first saw that Francisco Liriano was pitching for the Tigers, I thought to myself “Mamma Mia! Here we go again!” I asked why did it have to be me who was recapping this game. For pitchers, the name of the game is throwing strikes, and Liriano is not particularly good at that. For the first few innings it was going well, but per usual Liriano imploded and the Cubs proved victorious 8-2.
Victor Martinez continued his hot streak in the second inning with a leadoff single, and then came around to score from second on a Ronny Rodriguez bloop single. Despite a tough year, Martinez is going out with a bang, and when all is said and done, he’ll go down as one of the best pure hitters the Tigers have had in the last 30 years.
Liriano was cruising along through four innings, but then allowed a single to Albert Almora to lead off the fifth. With Kris Bryant and his angel eyes on the disabled list, David Bote has been playing third base for the Cubs in his absence. Following Almora, Bote sent a home run into the Tigers bullpen to put Chicago up 2-1, and also snapped the Cubs five-game streak of only scoring one run. Daniel Murphy recorded his first hit since being acquired by the Cubs yesterday with an RBI single to put the Tigers in a 3-1 hole.
Despite Buck Farmer ready to go in the bullpen, Liriano came out for the sixth inning and allowed a leadoff double to Ben Zobrist. With one down, Liriano was calling out SOS on the mound, and the Tigers brought Farmer in to relieve him. Farmer got out of the inning, but not before allowing Zobrist to come around to score to put the Cubs up 4-1.
In the eighth, Carl Edwards Jr. came out of the pen for the Cubs throwing kisses of fire, but wasn’t able to locate his pitches. Edwards walked the first batter he faced in ex-teammate Jeimer Candelario, and then allowed a single to Castellanos with one out. The Cubs then called on ex-Tiger Justin Wilson to face Niko Goodrum, and Goodrum reached on an error to load the bases. After another pitching change to get Pedro Strop into the game, Jim Adduci was on the bench thinking “take a chance on me,” and the Tigers did exactly that. With two outs, Adduci came on to pinch-hit for Mikie Mahtook, and drew a walk to pull the Tigers within two.
With the bases still loaded, the Tigers needed a super trouper who would deliver the big hit to get them back into the game. Sadly, James McCann surrendered like Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo by grounding out to short to end the scoring threat.
Victor Alcantara has been a bright spot in the young Tigers’ pen since his call-up, but struggled on Wednesday with his command. After walking Contreras and allowing a single to Murphy, Javier Baez tagged him for a three-run homer. Anthony Rizzo, clearly jealous of Baez’s homer, said “gimme! gimme! gimme!” and ended up getting a homer of his own that would give the Cubs a 8-2 victory.
And since I couldn’t find a way to fit it into the story but can’t not include it: Dancing Queen!