Not only was the catch a spectacular grab, but it also served as a massive dagger to the Cardinals. Betts exited Monday's game with pain in his left wrist a few innings after going over 100 RBIs for the second straight season.
After not having two men on base in an inning since the first, the Cubs suddenly touched Wacha up for five-consecutive hits, five runs scored, and Wacha's magic had run dry. I have to back the Cubs in this spot. Tommy Pham singled, stole his second base of the game, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Dexter Fowler. While the Cubs' postseason fate is set - they will face Washington in the National League Division Series - the Cardinals' playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina remains in a concussion protocol and likely will not play for the remainder of the season. Tseng then threw a 1-1 93 miles per hour fastball to DeJong, who crushed it to straightaway center field, but Martin tracked the ball and timed his leap to bring the ball back from beyond the fence to seal the Cubs' 2-1 victory.
Kyle Hendricks, the righthander with the 86 miles per hour fastball but impeccable command, struck out two of the three men he faced in the Cardinals' first.
However, he went to confirm that he still remains a Cardinals fan.
With the National League Central title now secure, the immediate pressure is off as the Chicago Cubs look to the postseason while concluding the regular season with three weekend home games against the Cincinnati Reds.
That streak will come to an end tomorrow against the Milwaukee Brewers.
John Lackey headed into Thursday's matchup with a bit of uncertainty for his future as the playoffs near.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday that he has not settled on a rotation as he ponders the best-of-five NL Division Series, which opens on October 6 in Washington against the Nationals.
Arrieta is scheduled to start Sunday in the regular-season finale amid concern about lingering effects of a hamstring strain sustained on September 4.
Righthander Lance Lynn, who has just one win in his last nine starts, will make his final regular-season start of the season for the Cardinals, and perhaps the final start of his career for them as he prepares to enter free agency for the first time.
The players don't have to admit it-again, that's not their job-but eventually, explaining away the Cubs dominance of the rivalry to "just baseball" is no longer a true representation of the situation. "Get guys off their feet and get it off their minds".