Cubs Blow Rare Chance for Chicago Fans

Had the Cubs won on Wednesday, all four Chicago teams (in their various sports) would’ve won.

Photo courtesy of NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Cubs played simultaneously on the night of April 3. Earlier in the day, the White Sox picked up a win and the Bulls earned a victory. It was on the Cubs and Blackhawks to make it a city-wide sweep. Sadly, it wasn’t in the cards with the Cubs blowing a lead late, due to their mediocre bullpen.

White Sox crush Indians

A battle of aces dueled with Carlos Rodon leading the White Sox and Corey Kluber on the bump for the Indians. Chicago put up three quick runs in the first inning as a result of a single, walk and fielder’s choice. Cleveland got one back in the bottom of the inning but the Sox picked up another in the second.

Jose Abreu knocked in a run in the second and pushed two more across in the fourth. Yoan Moncada finished off the day with a two-run blast into the right field bleachers, then leading 8-1. Cleveland teed up one of their own with Hanley Ramirez bombing a two-run shot for the home fans.

Rodon picked up the win and finished his day with a six innings pitched, allowing two hits and throwing nine K’s.

Bulls use late magic over Wizards

If you were to ask me which of the four is least likely to win, I’d nod towards the Chicago Bulls. Damn did they somehow manage to prove me wrong. They played the Wizards for the third time this season since trading for Otto Porter Jr.

His acquisition has made an impact, and he’s had his moments in the 24 games he’s been in the Windy City. He wasn’t available on Wednesday night but the Bulls didn’t need him. Instead, it was Walt Lemon Jr. who stole the show in his third game for Chicago.

Lemon Jr. was 11-16 from the field, scoring 24 points with eight assists and three rebounds. On the flip side, Bobby Portis (ex-Bull) put up a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards but it was all for naught. Lemon Jr. knocked down a pair of free throws to take the lead with two seconds left. They hung on for the 115-114 win, on the road, snapping a five-game loss streak. I’d just given up on the Bulls a while back, but it is nice to see them still fighting to show they care.

Blackhawks beat Blues on Toews’ shootout goal

This was one of the two games I actually watched, so the emotions were that much more evident. This game truly brought out everything, in big part due to playing our rival Blues at home. This all coming a day after being officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Don’t tell the Hawks players that these last few games don’t mean anything. Knowing when their season would end didn’t faze them as they brought their all against the hated Blues. Jonathan Toews got things going with a late goal in the first period, with Patrick Kane awarded an assist.

After seeing the Blues knot it up at 1-1, the Blackhawks responded with a tipped shot by Artem Anisimov to hold a 2-1 lead after two periods. A huge goal by Kaner seemed like it would be enough midway through the third, but it wasn’t. As quick as I had gone to celebrating, I went to screaming and swearing with a quick turnover in their own zone which led to a goal. It got worse.

The Blues pulled their goalie with just over two minutes left, kind of a bold move if you ask me, but they already had a playoff spot locked up. The strategy paid off as Tyler Bozak netted a shot with 40 seconds left. At this point, I’d given up. Leading by two goals with half a period remaining and playing fairly well, they shouldn’t lose. It would end up going to a shootout with Toews getting one past Jake Allen while Cam Ward rejected all three attempts from the Blues.

Overall, despite being angry some of the time, I was really pleased to see the effort the Hawks put out there on the ice. They managed to almost blow it, but ended up with a W in front of their hungry fan base.

Fly the L

As frustrating as the Blackhawks game was, this one exceeded it. I only watched through to the end with little hope and mostly so I could write up something accurately. The Cubs put themselves in a good position to win, but the bullpen failed once again.

Jon Lester deserved a win tonight, instead he was left with a no-decision. He even helped out his own cause by getting a base knock in the second to drive in the first run of the game. He did give up a pair of homers in the third inning but then found his groove. He ended up pitching six innings, giving up six hits, two runs and struck out seven.

When his day was done, the Cubs were leading, thanks to a two-run laser homer off the bat of Wilson Contreras. The bats were consistent most of the night and Rizzo ended up scoring on a wild pitch in the seventh inning to push the lead 4-2. After seeing Pedro Strop lose a game this season with a walk-off wild pitch, I guess this was good karma.

If I’d have known what was about to occur, I’d probably just change the channel. In comes Steve Cishek to replace Brandon Kintzler, who threw a great inning by not allowing a hit and struck out one. This gives hope the bullpen might turn things around. Cishek destroyed that brief hope by walking his first three batters, forcing his exit. Randy Rosario takes the mound and sure enough, gives up a three-run double. Still no outs, now down 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Brad Bach gives up a sac fly for another run and Mike Montgomery finishes the inning with two pitches.

In the eighth inning alone, the Cubs used four pitchers, walked five batters, allowed two hits and had four runs scored on them. Talk about self-implosion. Rizzo drew a walk in the top of the ninth but that’s all that happened with Kris Bryant grounding out, Javy Baez striking out while swinging for the fences and Kyle Schwarber went down swinging.

I guess if you think about it, three out of four teams isn’t all that bad; especially considering two are eliminated from the playoffs and one is still trying to find their rhythm early in the season. Still, being a Chicago fan can be either agonizing or something to celebrate, as evidenced above.

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