Cubs 2016
Playoff Recaps




2016 World Series


November 1
Game 6
Cubs 9 Indians 3

The Cubs won 103 regular season games during the regular, the best in the MLB in 2016. How did they do that? A great lineup, filled with patient hitters who will take walks, that can also hit home runs. A great starting pitching staff, that went deep into games to take the pressure off a good bullpen. The best defense in all of baseball. The Cubs put it all on display facing elimination in game 6 of the World Series.

The Cubs started early when Kris Bryant homered on a hanging curve ball of Josh Tomlin in the first inning with 2 outs. Anthony Rizzo singled, Ben Zobrist singled and Cleveland did the cubs a favor as 2 outfielders let a ball drop that should've been caught giving the Cubs 2 runs and a 3-0 early lead.

Jake Arrieta looked strong early and the Cubs lineup continued to put the pressure on Tomlin and the Indians as they loaded the bases in the 3rd inning before Addison Russell gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead with the first Grand Slam in World Series Cubs history. At 22 years old, only Mickey Mantle was younger when he hit a Grand Slam in the World Series.

The Indians mounted a little comeback making it a 7-2 game, but the Cubs defense wouldn't allow much more. Jason Heyard made a great play on a sinking line drive that ended one Indians rally, Javy Baez turned a great double play. Aroldis Chapman hustled to 1st base to prevent an infield single from Francisco Lindor and in the ninth inning, I'm not sure why Roberto Perez tried to get to second base down by 7 runs, but when he tried, Jason Heyward made a throw from deep right field on the fly to Addison Russell to get the 2nd out of the inning. One more out and the Cubs take it to a final game 7 to win it all.

Cubs do incredibly well when you can name off multiple guys that made an impact. Game 6 surely exhibitied that. Another one like this in game 7 and the 108 year World Series drought will be history!!!!!!!

Hiting

Addison Russell



Bryant's home run in 1st inning




Rizzo adds to the lead



Defense

Chapman covering first base



Full Recap



October 30
Game 5
Cubs 3 Indians 2

Ryne Sandberg threw out the first pitch for game 5 and Jon Lester took the mound for the Cubs. Lester gave up an early lead on a home run to Jose Ramirez but this night he pitched very well.

Trevor Bauer was matching Lester early until the 4th inning. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a line drive home run to left center field. Anthony Rizzo nearly went back to back, but his drive bounced off the right field wall for a double. Addison Russell drove in the 2nd run with an infield single and when David Ross hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly, the Cubs had all the runs they would need for the night taking a 3-1 lead.

The Indians added one more run in the 6th inning when Rajai Davis, singled, stole second base and scored on a Francisco Lindor single.

Many Cubs fans, Including myself, were shocked to see Miguel Montero pinch hit for David Ross in the bottom of the 6th inning. There wasn't anyone on base so the move seemed to indicate that Cubs manager, Joe Maddon was determined to go to the bullpen in the 7th inning even though Lester had not thrown a lot of pitches and still seemed to be pitching very well.

Maddon brought in Carl Edwards in the top of the 7th. Edwards gave up a single to Mike Napoli and retired one batter before Maddon brought in his closer, Aroldis Chapman. This is the earliest appearance for the Cubs closer all year. But Maddon's move paid off as Chapman struck out 4 batters, allowing just one hit the rest of the way on to the Cubs victory.

The Cubs take the World Series back to Cleveland for Game 6 and hopefully a Game 7 as well.

Ross & Rizzo catch



Cubs fans sing Go Cubs Go after first World Series victory at Wrigley since 10/8/45



Cubs traded a lot of young talent to get Aroldis Chapman for this night



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2016 World Series

Game 1
October 25
Indians 6 Cubs 0

The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 and the Indians haven't won a World Series since 1948. Game 1 of the World Series had Jon Lester facing Corey Kluber, both are great pitcher's that may have a chance at the Cy Young Award this year.

Lester struggled in the first inning. After retiring the first 2 batters, he gave up a single to Francisco Lindor, who stole second base. Lester walked the next 2 batters before Jose Ramirez hit a slow ground ball to third base that became an infield single, scoring the first run of the game and series. When Lester hit Brandon Guyer (a former Cubs minor leaguer), the Indians had a 2-0 lead.

The Indians added on later with a home run by Roberto Perez off Lester while Kluber was shutting down the Cubs offense and creating his own history striking out 8 Cubs batters in the first 3 innings, a feat no one had ever done in the World Series.

Perez added another home run, this one a 3-run shot off Hector Rondon and the Indians coasted to a 6-0 lead to take a 1-0 lead in the World Series.

An exciting addition to the Cubs lineup was Kyle Schwarber, who was in the lineup as DH. Schwarber was hurt very early in the year and this was the first game that he returned the Cubs lineup. Schwarber would not get medical clearance to play the outfield so he will only be available as a pinch hitter in the games at Wrigley Field and can return to DH when the Series moves back to Cleveland for games 6 and 7 (as needed). It looked like Schwarber may hit a home run, but his drive off Kluber banged against the right field wall for a double instead.

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Perez 2 home run



Lester struggles in 1st inning



Game 2
October 26
Cubs 5 Indians 1

Game 2 in Cleveland was the Jake Arrieta and Kyle Schwarber show. Arrieta took a no-hitter into the 6th inning and the Cubs bullpen helped hold the Indians to just one run on the night. Schwarber drove in 2 runs with a double. Most analysts being amazed at how his timing could be this good after being out for so long.

Arrieta takes no-hitter into 6th



Kyle Schwarber drives in 2



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Game 3
October 28
Indians 1 Cubs 0

Wrigley Field hosts a World Series game for the first time since 1945, but the game doesn't go very well. Josh Tomlin pitched a great game against the Cubs although, he did not go very far into the game. The Indians bullpen has had an incredible run this postseason and the Cubs saw that first hand as for the third series in a row this postseason, the Cubs have a 1-0 game. This win going to the Indians as Coco Crisp drives in the only run of the game with a pinch hit single in the 7th inning.

Coco Crisp's RBI single



Bill Murray



Game 4
October 29

Indians 7 Cubs 2

Corey Kluber comes back on just 3 days rest and the Cubs do seem to have figured him out in the first inning as Anthony Rizzo drives in the first run of the game. But Kluber settled down and the Indians offense played well in this game. Carlos Santana began the scoring with a home run into the teeth of the wind that was blowing in this night at Wrigley. The Cubs defense left them down as Kris Bryant made a nice play to pick up a ground ball, but a wild throw pulled Rizzo off the bag for one error. The Cubs walked the 8th place hitter to load the bases for Kluber, but Kluber had a nice, long at bat that ended when he hit a soft grounder to third and Bryant made another poor throw that Rizzo couldn't handle. The third run of the game scored and the Cubs never could get any closer on this night.

Jason Kipnis grew up in the Chicago land area and had a night to remember when he put the game away with a 3-run home run off Travis Wood. And the Indians stunned the Cubs fans as they take a commanding 3 games to 1 lead in the World Series. The Cubs will face elimination on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Santana home run



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Cubs 2016 Playoffs

National League Championship Series

Cubs defeat the Dodgers 4 games to 2

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October 22, 2016

Game 6

Cubs 5 Dodgers 0

Well, before I give the recap of this historic Cubs victory, the Cubs are going to the World Series!!!!!!!!!

Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young award last year and Jon Lester or Kyle Hendricks may follow him up with that award this season. That being said, to most, Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers left-hander is widely considered the best pitcher in all of baseball. He battled through a back injury in 2016 which will cost him Cy Young consideration for the year, but he shut down the Cubs in game 2 of this series so you had to like the Dodgers chances of sending the series to a game 7. But Kershaw, who has been used a lot in this postseason, was not at his best which was great news for the Cubs offense and Kyle Hendricks.

The Cubs got started early, scoring a run after just hte 2nd batter of the game when Kris Bryant drove in Dexter Fowler. The Cubs seemed to have a good approach of going to the oppoosite field quite often. The Cubs benefited from an error by Dodgers, leftfielder, Andrew Toles. the Cubs had a great start scoring 2 runs in the first inning. Dexter Fowler drove in a run in the thrid inning and the Cubs even managed 2 home runs off Kershaw when Willson Contreras went deep in the 4th inning and Anthony Rizzo drove in the 5th run of the game with a home run in the 5th inning. The Cubs had knocked out Kershaw leading the game 5-0.

Kyle Hendricks gave up a single to Andrew Toles on the first pitche of the game. But when Javy Baez made a great play to tag Toles and turn a double play, Hendricks was really at the top fo his game. Hendricks only gave up one more single in the game before being taken out of the game by Cubs manager, Joe Maddon in the 8th inning. Aroldis Chapman was able to finish up allowing just a walk. When the batter that walked was retired on a double play to end the game, it meant that Hendricks & Chapman had faced the minimum of 27 batters in the game. It is just the 2nd time in postseason history that a team has done this, the only other time was Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

The Cubs put an end to the Curse of the Billy Goat and go to their first World Series since 1945 (71 years). The Cubs will try to break their 108 year old drought without a World Series Championship. The last Cubs World Series championship team was in 1908.

Game ending double play



Statcast gives you the Cubs scoring highlights



Pat Hughes calls some big games in 2016



Kyle Hendricks great performance in Game 6


NLCS-Cubs vs Dodgers

October 20, 2016
NLCS Game 5
Cubs 8 Dodgers 4

Jon Lester pitches for the Cubs in a critical game 5, the final game of the NLCS in Los Angeles. The winner goes up 3-2 in the Series. Lester follows up a great pitching performance in Game 1 and pitches a solid 7 innings for the Cubs, giving up just one run.

Anthony Rizzo drove in the first run in the first inning and when Addison Russell homered off Dodgers pitcher, Julio Urias, the Cubs took a lead they would not relinquish.

The Dodgers weren't shy at all about trying to exploit Lester's difficulty holding runners on first base and bunting quite often to force Lester field the ball and throw to first. Lester fielded one and rather than throwing over hand, he actually made a nice bounce pass throwing the ball into the ground and one hop into Anthony Rizzo's glove. I attended one game this year where he pulled off the same type of play!! And when Adrian Gonzalez got a bunt past Lester, Javier Baez was able to throw him out at first base even though he began the play in short right field.

Baez has really come through on a big stage. I think it's safe now to say his performance in this postseason compares favorably to 1984 when Ryne Sandberg made himself well known to all of major league baseball and how Mark Grace made a name for himself in the 1989 playoffs against the Giants and Will Clark.

In this game, Baez had 3 hits and put the game away with a bases loaded double in the 8th inning to give the Cubs an 8-1 lead.

The Cubs are just one victory away from a World Series appearance!!!!!!!!!!!!

Addison Russell homers for 2nd consecutive night, giving Cubs a 3-1 lead



Javier Baez great defensive play



Measuring how great Javier Baez's play was



Baez breaks the game open with a bases loaded double


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October 19, 2016

NLCS Game 4
Cubs 10 Dodgers 2



The Cubs entered game 4 with it being sort of a "must win" situation. The team was taking an 18 inning scoreless streak being shut out in both games 2 and 3. The streak continued to 21 innings until the Cubs finally broke out of their streak. Ben Zobrist began the inning with a bunt single and Addison Russell's 2-run home run was a big hit of the inning and a big one for Russell, who had a great season, but had really struggled in the postseason until this game. The other struggling Cubs hitter was Anthony Rizzo, who broke out of his slump as well with a home run and 3 hits borrowing teammate's Matt Szczur's bat.

John Lackey pitched alright for the Cubs, but when he walked the first 2 Dodger's batters in the 5th inning, Joe Maddon decided his night was over. Mike Montgomery pitched well to get the win for the Cubs.

Check out the videos below of game 4 that includes a controversial call at home plate that went the Cubs way as Adrian Gonzalez was called out on a very close tag play at home plate.

Measuring Addison Russell's home run



Willson Contreras picks off runner at second base.



Controversial play at home plate



Anthony Rizzo caught on audio talking to the home plate umpire



NLCS Game 3
Dodgers 6 Cubs 0

Cubs fans have reason to worry, now. Cubs are on the wrong side of history as they are shut out in back to back games for the first time in their team history. With the 6-0 win, the Dodgers take a 2 games to 1 lead in the best of 7 series. At this point, the Dodgers have taken away and maintained now home field advanatage, meaning that the can close out the NLCS for a World Series appearance if they win the next two games in Los Angeles. The Cubs would need to one of the two remaining games in Los Angeles to take back home field advantage and send the series back to Wrigley Field for games 6 & 7.

To add insult to injury in game 2 for Cubs fans (including myself), the Dodgers starting pitcher was Rich Hill, a promising rookie that came up with the Cubs and showed a lot of ability early appearing for the Cubs in the 2007 playoffs (game 3 also). Hill pitched very well against his former team, he looked shaky in the 2nd inning, but after he struck out Addison Russell and got Miguel Montero to ground out to 2nd base, he pretty much dominated the Cubs the rest of the way before letting the Dodgers bullpen and closer, Kenley Jensen preserved the victory for the Dodgers. The Cubs scoreless innings drought was extended to 18 innings after this defeat, but give the Dodger's much of the credit for this.

I was watching this game, but also following some baseball analysts on Twitter that indicated Jake Arrieta looked good. It was the home run ball that did him in. Yasmani Grandal, who hit 27 home runs during the regular season hit a 2-run home run and Justin Turner hit a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning and knock Arrieta out of the game. Let's hope the 4 innings that the bullpen had to pitch to finish up the game doesn't hurt us in games 4 and 5.

The Cubs offense really struggled. Kris Bryant did get 2 hits and Dexter Fowler had the only extra base hit with a double late in the game. Anthony Rizzo did get a stolen base which was rather comical because Rich Hill, for some reason, kept throwing over to first base as if Rizzo were a top MLB base stealer (which he is not). When he took off and stole second, that was probably the most animated I got watching this game (sad!).

It's really time for the Cubs to be the best they've been all year or the 2016 season could be history very soon!!



October 15, 2016 Game 1
Cubs 8 Dodgers 3

I was lucky enough to go see Game 4 of the NLCS in 2015 and it was an incredible game. This game may have topped that one!!

On the mound, Jon Lester was pitching great and offensively, the Cubs struck early when Dexter Fowler began the Cubs attack with a single in first inning and scored on Kris Bryant's double off the left field wall. In the 2nd inning, Jason Heyward, who struggled all year offensively after signing a big offseason contract, tripled to right field and scored when Javier Baez got a hustle bloop double in left-center field. Baez advanced to third and when Jon Lester faked a bunt, Baez was leaning so far off third base, that when the Dodgers catcher threw behind him, Baez took off for home, scoring the first steal of home in postseason history since Jimmy Slagle did it in the 1907 World Series!!

A 3-1 lead lasted late in the game (the long Dodger run being a wind-blown home run by Andre Ethier), but Cubs manager, Joe Maddon made a move that has been criticized when he took Lester out after six innings to pinch hit for him the previous inning. Even Lester walked on the outside of the dugout to avoid the Cubs manager and possible heated discussion. Lester is a very competitive pitcher. He reminds me a lot of Kerry Wood who had the same competitive fire about him.

The bullpen did get into trouble in the 8th inning as the Dodgers loaded the bases after Kris Bryant barely missed tagging the bag before Andrew Tholes on a ground ball that he backhanded.

A 2nd questioned move by Joe Maddon was bringing in Aroldis Chapman, who has recently struggled coming into games with runners already on base. Chapman did a great job striking out the first 2 batters, but Adrian Gonzalez hit a 2-run line drive single to tie the game 3-3. Cubs fans were very down until the bottom of the 8th inning.

After Ben Zobrist doubled, Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts had his own interesting moves as he walked Jason Heyward intentionally and after Javier Baez flied out, Roberts intentionally walked pinch hitter, Chris Coghlan. This move was seen as forcing Joe Maddon to pinch hit for Aroldis Chapman so that the Dodgers would not have to face him in the 9th inning. The one thing Dave Roberts didn't count on was Cubs pinch hitter, Miguel Montero. Montero blasted an 0-2 pitch into the right field bleachers for a Grand Slam. To keep the fun going, Dexter Fowler followed Montero's home run with another home run. The Dodgers got a run in the 9th inning, but Cubs take Game 1 with an 8-4 victory.





October 18, 2016

Game 2
Dodgers 1 Cubs 0

This one is easy. Clayton Kershaw is a great pitcher and he shut the Cubs down with help from Kenley Jensen, the great Dodgers closer.

Cubs had Kyle Hendricks, who led the NL in ERA in 2016 and pitched well, however the one bad pitch was hit for a home run by Adrian Gonzalez. Enough for a Dodgers win.

The Cubs only had a few bright spots on offense, a long foul ball by struggling hitter, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez came very close to a home run off Kershaw in the 7th inning. The night before the wind was blowing out, had it been blowing out on Sunday, Baez could've won the game with his long drive. Baez, who has been incredible this postseason, also made a very great double play letting a soft line drive drop to get 2 outs rather than one.






Cubs 2016 Playoffs-NLDS

Cubs Defeat Giants 3 games to 1 to advance to NLCS


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October 7, 2016
Game 1
Cubs 1 Giants 0

Jon Lester pitches a great 8 innings and Javier Baez drives in the lone run with a home run as Cubs defeat Giants 1-0. 1 win down, 2 more to go to get to the NLCS!!



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October 8, 2016
Game 2
Cubs 5 Giants 2

Another exciting Cubs win in Game 2 of the LDS. Facing ex-teammate, Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs got off to a great start with 4 runs in the first 2 innings. But when Kyle Hendricks got hit in the arm with a batted ball by Angel Pagan and had to leave the game, Cubs fans (and I) had some concerns, but the bullpen came in and did a great job. Travis Wood not only pitched well, but hit a home run also. What I love most about this game is that so many players contributed, a true team effort and important win as the Cubs face a very tough pitcher, Madison Bumgarner as the Series moves to San Francisco. Cubs have a 2-0 Series lead, one win short of moving on to the NLCS!!!!!!!!



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October 10, 2016
Game 3
Giants 6 Cubs 5, 13 innings

The Cubs had their 2015 Cy Young Award winner, Jake Arrieta on the mound against the most widely regarded best postseason pitcher, Madison Bumgarner for the Giants.

Arrieta had the best of things early as he hit a 3-run home run off Bumgarner, but after Arrieta left the game, the Giants came back to take the lead. Kris Bryant tried to bring Cubs back with a game tying home run in the 9th inning, but Joe Panik's double in the 13th inning gave the Giants an exciting 6-5 walk-off victory. Javier Baez & Albert Almora had great defensive plays in the game.



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October 11, 2016
Game 4
Cubs 6 Giants 5
Cubs make a historic 9th inning comeback, scoring 4 runs off the Giants to win the game 6-5. Cubs advance to the NLCS 3 games to 1.

The Giants and pitcher, Matt Moore were controlling this game from very early on. David Ross hit a home run to keep the Cubs close but the Giants took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning.

In the ninth, Kris Bryant led off the rally with a single. Anthony Rizzo walked and Ben Zobrist cut the lead to 5-3 with a double. Willson Contrera's 2-run single tied the game at 5-5. Jason Heyward tried to bunt, forcing Contreras out at 2nd base instead, but an important play was when Brandon Crawford tried to turn the double play, but threw the ball away instead. Heyward advanced to second base (I also saw a video that Heyward got down the line at a very fast pace per Statcast). Heyward getting to second base set the scene for Javier Baez who has had a great NLDS and finished off his great performance with a single to center field, scoring Heyard to give Cubs a 6-5 lead.

Aroldis Chapman shut down the Giants after a rough night the night before striking out all 3 batters he faced. Strike 3 to Brandon Belt sent the Cubs to the NLCS!!!!!



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Cubs Season Recap-2016


The Cubs were winning early in the season, but the Cubs lost all 3 games that I went to early in the season.  What's up with that? 

I saw 5 more games the remaining part of the year and they won all 5.

It's been awhile since I've seen batting practice at Wrigley.  Cubs didn't take BP against the Cardinals that day, but Matt Holiday was hitting some bombs onto Waveland Avenue!!

I always like keeping the souvenir cups.  It was a Joe Maddon & Jake Arrieta one this year.  I think I neglected to bring home the Kris Bryant one!! 

Giveaways: I needed a new Cubs hat, picked one up at an outside vendor and than also got a Rizzo/Buona Beef promotional hat as well.  Bonus!!



On the Field:

I wanted to just brainstorm the plays and games I remember most rather than researching the most significant games of the year. I'll do that in more detail soon!!

Here are 10 moments with videos, enjoy!!

There is now a bobblehead for Anthony Rizzo's tarp catch from a few years ago. He gave a commanding performance again this year versus the Brewers (oddly, the catch from years ago was against the Brewers also).

Rizzo goes on top of the ledge to make an incredible catch. Perhaps a nominee for best defensive play in all of MLB.

Rizzo catch



The final game at Wrigley Field in 2016 should have been a rather low key game. Cubs had already clinched a playoff berth and home field throughout the NL postseason playoffs so Joe Maddon was managing more similar to how he was in spring training rather than being ultra competitive.

David Ross HR in final game at Wrigley

But with this game being David Ross last regular season game at Wrigley Field, the crowd gave him multiple standing ovations throughout the game and when Ross homered to give the Cubs a lead, it seemed like this was more like a scene in a movie than a baseball game. Even Joe Maddon came out to the mound to take Ross out of the game so that the backup catcher affectionately called "Grandpa Rossi" could get his fifth or so ovation of the game (I lost track after the first few).





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