Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Event of the Day: National League Wildcard Game

Our event of the day is the National League Wildcard Game in Major League Baseball. The Colorado Rockies face the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Both teams come into this game after losing tiebreaker games on Monday to decide their respective divisions. The winner of today’s Wildcard Game will go on to face the Milwaukee Brewers in a National League Division Series. Chicago will be looking to replicate their 2016 postseason performance, which saw them win the World Series and break a 107-year championship drought. Meanwhile, the Rockies have secured their first consecutive playoff berths in franchise history (having been a wildcard team in 2017) and look to reach their first NLDS since 2009. With two division-winning calibre teams, this is set to be one of the most exciting Wildcard matchups in recent memory. The Cubs have been a dominant force this season having spent the offseason ensuring that stars like Kris Bryant remained on the team. Javier Baez shone as a team leader, setting a season-best in RBIs, doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. The only foils to their dominant season was the equally dominant season that division rivals Milwaukee were having and the slightly underperforming starting rotation. Looking back, losing 4 of 6 September games against the Brewers may have contributed to the division tie that led to Monday’s tiebreaker.

Meanwhile on the mound, only one of Chicago’s five starting pitchers finished the season with an ERA under 3.00. Furthermore, with the youngest starter aged 28, Chicago was relying on career years from veterans, as opposed to breakout years from future stars of the game. Over in Denver, the Rockies quickly recovered from an embarrassing 2017 Wildcard Game. The Arizona Diamondbacks had taken them to task, including D-Backs pitcher Archie Bradley recording a 2-run triple late in the game. The Rockies have a talented core, including outfielder Charlie Blackmon and third baseman Nolan Arenado, backed up by strong pitchers such as Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez. The Rockies had a mixed start to the season, doing well in April and May before slumping in June. However, they rallied in July, only losing 6 games all month and completing three series sweeps. Nolan Arenado, who hit an NL-leading 37 home runs through the 162 regular season games, hit 22% of his home runs in July alone. An equally dominant September allowed them to catch the Dodgers and force Monday’s NL West tiebreaker. Tonight should be a thrilling sudden death game between two great sides.

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the UEFA Champions League, where Manchester United hosts Valencia at Old Trafford. While they are struggling in the Premier League, Manchester United started off their Champions League campaign well, defeating Young Boys 3-0. Valencia, who lost 2-0 in their opening Champions League game against Juventus, are reported to have made multiple changes to their side for tonight’s clash. After a disappointing start to the season and signs of unrest at the club, Manchester United will be desperate for victory tonight. Elsewhere, in the EFL League One, top of the table Portsmouth look to extend their lead as they face mid-table Coventry. In the EFL League Two, bottom of the table Macclesfield Town look for their first win of the season against Newport County. Elsewhere, in darts, the PDC World Grand Prix continues in Dublin.

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by MLB

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