CHICAGO (AP) — Manager Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs insist they still have plenty left to make another deep run in the postseason.
What they don’t have is room for error.
The Cubs will host the Colorado Rockies in the wild-card game today after both teams lost tiebreaker games for their division championships.
“We’re not dead in the water,” Maddon said.
The Cubs will send ace Jon Lester (18-6, 3.32 ERA) to the mound, hoping to keep their season going after a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee for the NL Central championship at Wrigley Field on Monday.
They’ll be back at the old ballpark again, trying to eliminate Colorado after the Rockies dropped a tiebreaker for the NL West to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2. Kyle Freeland (17-7, 2.85) starts for the Rockies, and the winner gets Milwaukee in the best-of-five Division Series starting Thursday at Miller Park.
Colorado and the Cubs split six games this year, each scoring 33 runs. They haven’t faced each other since early May.
NL home run champion Nolan Arenado and the Rockies (91-72) had won nine of 10 before getting shut down by rookie Walker Buehler in a 5-2 loss on Monday. Colorado has never won its division.
“Excited about it,” manager Bud Black said. “It’s going to be a great environment tomorrow at Wrigley. Their manager and I go way back. This team enjoys playing on the big stage.”
Charlie Blackmon, who had two of Colorado’s four hits Monday, called it “an amazing opportunity.”
“The fact of the matter is we have a chance to win the World Series,” he added.
The Cubs (95-68) reached the playoffs for a franchise-record fourth straight year and had a third consecutive division championship in sight, only to be pushed aside by the surging Brewers.