Less than 96 hours after having the best record in the National League, the Chicago Cubs have been eliminated from the postseason.
Tuesday night the Colorado Rockies beat the Cubs in 13 innings in the winner-take-all NL Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field (COL 2, CHC 1). Both clubs lost a Game 163 tiebreaker Monday to end up in the Wild Card Game. This was only the third Wild Card Game to go to extra innings and the longest postseason game in Wrigley Field history.
With the win, the Rockies are moving on to the National League Division Series to take on the Milwaukee Brewers. Colorado had been 1-8 in their last nine postseason games dating back to the 2007 NLCS. The Cubs? They’re done. Season’s over.
Here is everything you need to know about the NL Wild Card Game.
This was the longest win-or-go-home game in history
Prior to Tuesday night no winner-take-all game in MLB history had ever gone 13 innings. Here are the longest winner-takes-all games in baseball history:
- 2018 Wild Card Game: Rockies over Cubs in 13 innings
- 2014 AL Wild Card Game: Royals over Athletics in 12 innings
- 1924 World Series Game 7: Senators over Giants in 12 innings
This was only the third Wild Card Game to go to extra innings, joining that 2014 AL game and the 2016 AL game between the Blue Jays and Orioles. That’s the infamous “Zach Britton is still sitting in the bullpen” game.
The road team won another Wild Card Game
Tuesday’s game was the 13th Wild Card Game in baseball history and the road team is now 8-5 in those 13 games. Home field advantage hasn’t been much of an advantage in the Wild Card Game thus far. Here are the home team wins:
- 2017: Yankees over Twins
- 2017: Diamondbacks over Rockies
- 2016: Blue Jays over Orioles
- 2014: Royals over Athletics
- 2013: Pirates over Reds
This is almost certainly a statistical anomaly, not a meaningful trend. We’re talking about 13 Wild Card Games spread across seven years. Give it enough time and things will even out, if not swing in favor of the home team since the home team has won approximately 54 percent of games, historically.
On Tuesday though, the Rockies went into raucous Wrigley Field to beat the Cubs and extend their season. Winning a do-or-die game on the road is never easy. So far though, the road team has had success in the Wild Card Game.
The team that scored first won again
Though 13 Wild Card Games, the team that scores first is now 10-3. The Rockies did it in a roundabout way Tuesday night, but they did win after scoring first. Here are the three teams that won despite not scoring first in the Wild Card Game:
- 2018: Yankees over Twins
- 2014: Royals over Athletics
- 2012: Cardinals over Braves
Scoring first is such a big advantage, especially when the road team scores in the top of the first. The home team is playing from behind right away and that is never a good field.
Freeland was masterful
While pitching on three days’ rest for the first time since college, Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland was brilliant Tuesday, holding the Cubs scoreless across 6 2/3 innings. He started to tire a bit later in the outing but still managed to take the ball into the seventh inning.