Flippin' out: Cubs find their mojo, crush White Sox 10-0
This weekend on the South Side is a last gasp of sorts for both of Chicago's baseball teams before the postseason begins.
With the Cubs and White Sox both wheezing and gasping down the stretch, these three games are a chance for both squads to right the ship. To build momentum. To start feeling good about themselves again.
Well, Round 1 went to the Cubs -- and in resounding, bat-flipping fashion -- thanks to 5 home runs and another solid performance from Yu Darvish. Willson Contreras hit 2 of the longballs, and Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez and Victor Caratini also went deep in a 10-0 victory.
The Sox, meanwhile, managed just 3 hits, have now dropped six straight and are in danger of losing home-field advantage in the first round
Like many Cubs-Sox games, this one had a bit of drama.
After Contreras' 3-run rocket made it 4-0 in the third, the catcher -- perhaps unleashing a season's worth of frustration for the entire team -- flung his bat dozens of feet into in the air. The move obviously didn't sit well with the White Sox, and Contreras was hit by a pitch by Jimmy Cordero in the seventh.
Cordero, manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper were all ejected.
Cubs manager David Ross wasn't happy with the plunking and reminded everyone that Tim Anderson essentially did the same thing against the Royals in April 2019.
"I thought Tim Anderson's bat flip last year where he flipped it and looked in his dugout, that's what you want. And that's exactly what Willson did," Ross said. "It wasn't to disrespect the other group. It was because we've been struggling offensively and he brought some swagger. He brought some edge. And I loved every second of it."
So did Contreras, who now has 7 HRs on the season and was expecting to get hit at some point.
"(Anthony) Rizzo asked me right before the game: 'Hey, if you hit a homer, do something exciting. Do a bat flip,'" Contreras said. "Obviously that came to my mind right away, but I didn't mean to throw it that high.
"I mean things happen. I was having fun and I hit the ball and knew it was gone. I knew my team needed the swagger back, which we (got) today. I'm glad they had my back and I have their backs too."
Renteria said the pitch got away from Cordero, but the umpires obviously didn't buy that theory.
Darvish (8-3) allowed just 3 hits, walked one and struck out five in 7 innings.
Hard-throwing Dylan Cease (5-4) took the loss.
The Cubs' magic number to clinch the NL Central fell to 1, while the White Sox dropped into a tie for second place in the AL Central with the Indians. However, the Indians own the tiebreaker based on the season series.
This was only the second time in the last nine games the Cubs have scored more than 3 runs.
The Sox's only hits came from Anderson, Luis Robert and Adam Engel. Robert snapped an 0-for-29 drought that stretched back to September 15.
"It puts you in a situation where you're embarrassed," Renteria said of the lopsided result. "That's as easy as I can put it. ...
"They understand that we've got to try to put ourselves in as solid footing as possible because we believe we're a good club. We believe in the abilities that they have and we have to start pushing and prepare ourselves for this upcoming postseason.
"They are all aware of it. I expect we'll see something hopefully a little better tomorrow."