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It took a historic marathon of a National League Wild Card Game

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It took a historic marathon of a National League Wild Card Game Tyler Glasnow Jersey , but the Colorado Rockies' dreams of a first World Series title are still alive.Colorado defeated the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, in a 13-inning showdown Tuesday at Wrigley Field. It was the longest win-or-go-home playoff game in MLB history, and it prevented the Cubs from reaching their fourth straight National League Championship Series.Tony Wolters, who did not start the game, delivered the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 13th, and Scott Oberg closed the door on the North Siders in the bottom of the frame. Rockies Bats Must Find Road Magic for World Series RunColorado's offensive struggles on the road were a primary talking point entering the playoffs, for good reason.According toESPN.com,the Rockies led MLB in OPS at home but were an ugly 27thawayfrom Coors Field. Those issues were on full display during Monday's National League West tiebreaker loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers,as they didn't score until the ninth inning, and they looked to rear their ugly head again Tuesday when Nolan Arenado's sacrifice fly in the first inning was their only run until the 13th.However, October often comes down to unexpected heroes, as Colorado can now attest.ESPN espnBIGGEST HIT OF HIS CAREER!Tony Wolters comes up CLUTCH to give the Rockies the lead. Za9rxVoWyTJeff Passan JeffPassanOf course its the Rockies third catcher who gives them the lead. Tony Wolters, two-strike single http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/aut...frazier-jersey , Rockies up 2-1.With two outs and nobody on base, Trevor Story and Gerardo Parra singled before Wolters drove home the winner. While Story is a notable name, Parra and Wolters were not exactly the expected heroes in a lineup featuring Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Gonzalez and Ian Desmond.The Rockies will need that type of October magic to deliver a championship to Colorado. Otherwise, their pitchers will need to be brilliant, like starter Kyle Freeland was against the Cubs with 6.2 scoreless innings and six strikeouts.The Rockies' road issues aren't going to disappear overnight, but a timely hit in clutch moments can be the difference between an early exit and a deep postseason run.Toothless Cubs Must Find Offensive Answers Next SeasonJon Lester deserved better.The three-time World Series champion entered Tuesday's contest with a 2.55 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 25 playoff appearances, and he threw another masterpiece, allowing one run, four hits and one walk while striking out nine in six brilliant innings. He was the emotional leader for the team, consistently imploring the offense and crowd to deliver.James Neveau JamesNeveauJon Lester is on the Mount Rushmore of Chicago free agent signings and I will hear no protest on the matter.Sahadev Sharma sahadevsharmaWhat a great performance by Lester. Sure, he was a little lucky with some hard contact finding gloves Chad Kuhl Jersey , but man, 9 Ks, just 1 walk and 1 run allowed in six strong. Thats usually enough to win a game. Usually... Happ is going to pinch-hit for him. Impressive performance.It was all for naught, as one of the worst offenses in baseball over the final month put up one measly run.Chicago ranked 24th in OPS in September, perESPN.com, which is a primary reason the Milwaukee Brewers caught them and won the National League Central. There was also a power outage on the North Side, as an offense that was third in the National League in homers in 2017 was a mere 11th this year.Javier Baez鈥攊n a fitting metaphor for a season in which he carried Chicago's offense on his back for extended stretches鈥攄elivered a game-tying double in the eighth, but that was the Cubs' only run.Jason Patt Bulls_JayTheo is probably writing up a $500M contract for Bryce Harper in his suite right now.The offense on display in the most important games of the year will not cut it for a win-now team with a number of core pieces still in place. The Cubs must find offensive answers this offseason, whether it is signing Bryce Harper, changing some of the coaching staff, adding lower-profile but impactful bats or rehabbing Kris Bryant after he dealt with injuries throughout the season.Otherwise, they won't be World Series contenders in 2019.Brewers Bullpen vs. Rockies Starters Will Determine NLDSThe battle within the battle in the Division Series between the Rockies and Brewers will be which team can beat the other's strength.Milwaukee can build an early lead with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and the rest of the offense and then drastically shorten contests with a dominant bullpen featuring the likes of Josh Hader, Joakim Soria http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/aut...an-nova-jersey , Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress. All manager Craig Counsell needs is four or five effective innings from the starters, and the bullpen can do the rest.That was the blueprint the Brewers used to beat the Cubs in Monday's divisional tiebreaker game when Jhoulys Chacin allowed one run in 5.2 innings before the bullpen slammed the door.On the other side, Freeland and German Marquez form a daunting one-two punch of starting pitchers who can dictate the series with three starts between them. Freeland's prowess was on full display at Wrigley, while Marquez wasnamedNational League Pitcher of the Month in September with a 2.14 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 33.2 innings.Jeff Passan JeffPassanKyle Freeland is a boss. The pitch after David Dahls egregious not-an-error-but-totally-was-an-error in right field, Freeland induces a double-play groundball from Anthony Rizzo to escape a jam. Hes at just 71 pitches through six shutout innings. Rockies still lead, 1-0.Jerry Crasnick jcrasnickHow impressive is Kyle Freeland? Kid has no pulse.Joel Sherman Joelsherman1Jon Lester was terrific as usual in October. But he is a familiar face. It is good for baseball that the past 2 days those who do not pay deep attention during the season have gotten introduced to Walker Buehler and Kyle Freeland. #Dodgers #Rockies #TheFutureThe Brewers have plenty of potent bats, but Marquez and Freeland are talented enough to take over the short series and send the NL Central champions home quickly.Colorado knows it has to get to Milwaukee's starters early before the bullpen, while the Brewers have to battle the Rockies' one-two punch and force the bullpen to throw plenty of innings.Game on.What's Next?The Rockies turn their attention toward a National League Division Series showdown with the Brewers. The best-of-five series starts Thursday in Milwaukee. CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have always found reason to remain optimistic despite the times this season when they have struggled to score runs. The reason? Boasting the National League’s best record and holding down the top spot in the Central Division have kept them from losing hope.But as the Cubs wind down the regular season this week starting with Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the reality of a tight-knit race in the Central and the inability to push runs across at critical times no longer can be ignored.The Cubs were unable to do their part in reducing their magic number following a 5-1 loss to the Pirates on Monday in which Chicago left the bases loaded once and stranded a runner in scoring position with the Cubs trailing by a pair of runs. Chicago’s lone run on Monday came on a solo home run by pitcher Cole Hamels.Article continues below ...“The offense has taken a hit — there’s no question,” manager Joe Maddon told reporters earlier this month, according to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. “There’s just no other way to look at it. I think we have to find that within ourselves.”As the Cubs finish off this week against divisional rivals, they face an increasingly growing possibility they could face either the Milwaukee Brewers or the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs as the two NL Central foes currently hold down the top spots in the wild-card race.“Who has the advantage (in the playoffs)? I don’t know. Whoever pitches better that night has the advantage,” Maddon told reporters Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s hard to do something different or new because both sides know each other pretty well. I totally agree with that. I’ve worried about that in the past http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/aut...taillon-jersey , but I think I’ve learned not to because if you trust your players and put everyone out there and you’re in good health, you have just as good a shot as they do.”But before the Cubs can turn their focus to the postseason, they must still find a way to finish strong this week.Mike Montgomery (5-5, 3.75 ERA) will take the mound for the Cubs on Tuesday. Montgomery is coming off a solid six-inning effort against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who he held to one earned run and four hits while striking out eight. Montgomery is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in nine career appearances (three starts) against Pittsburgh.Chris Archer will face Montgomery as he looks for his third victory since joining the Pirates earlier this season. Archer (5-8, 4.49) allowed just one run and six hits and struck out eight over seven innings in his last outing against the Kansas City Royals. Archer is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.After Jameson Taillon shut down the Cubs on Monday, Archer hopes to build on his recent performance.“The one thing I hang my hat on is making starts and pitching deep into ballgames,” Archer said after his last start, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Giving up way more runs than I wanted to this year, but the thing that frustrates me the most is my average innings. It has to be the lowest of my career, but there’s a correlation. The better you pitch, the deeper you pitch into games.”
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