Ultimate Cubs Lineup: Play-in games
Recently, we asked our team of Marquee Sports Network analysts to construct an Ultimate Cubs Lineup of players from any point in the franchise’s history in an effort to win a single game.
Now, we put those lineups to the test.
Thursday marked the beginning of the Ultimate Cubs Lineup Tournament, featuring Matt Spiegel going against Ryan Sweeney and Sean Marshall squaring off against Pete McMurray in a pair of play-in games to earn the final two spots in our 16-team bracket that begins Monday night at 7:30 p.m. on Cubs 360 Daily.
For each matchup, we simulated the game using Strat-O-Matic, the market leader in sports simulations.
For more background on the Ultimate Cubs Lineup challenge and to see all of the lineups, head here.
Spiegel vs. Sweeney
Here are the two lineups:
So we have Team Spiegel leaning heavily on David Ross’ leadership behind the plate and the original professor (Greg Maddux) on the mound. Meanwhile, Sweeney went with Aramis Ramírez and Sammy Sosa in the heart of his order.
FINAL: Spiegel 3, Sweeney 1
Spiegel’s Maddux tossed a gem, allowing 1 run on only 4 hits in 8 innings while Sutter came on for the save with a scoreless 9th inning. Offensively, Rizzo collected 3 hits (including a home run) and scored a pair of runs while Banks and Wilson also notched RBI.
Sweeney’s squad managed just 5 hits total — 3 of which came off the bat of Ramírez, who doubled twice and drove in the team’s only run. Dawson and Sandberg were the only other players to pick up a hit.
The two teams were close all contest, with Spiegel plating a run in the bottom of the 1st inning and Sweeney’s team tying it in the top of the 6th.
In the bottom of the 8th, everything fell apart for Team Sweeney with his reliever, Arrieta, on the mound. After Brock struck out to start the frame, Rizzo tripled, Banks doubled him home and then moved to third base on a wild pitch. Wilson then knocked him in with a fielder’s choice.
Spiegel now advances to play in the first round of the Ultimate Cubs Lineup Tournament next week.
Marshall vs. McMurray
Here are the two lineups:
So we have Marshall’s blend of old school and modern day Cubs stars in a showdown against McMurray’s stable of Hall of Famers.
FINAL: Marshall 8, McMurray 6
In an offensive showdown, McMurray actually jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the game before Marshall’s squad mounted a comeback.
Facing the early deficit, Team Marshall plated 3 runs in the top of the 5th inning and then again in the top of the 8th before leaning on Chapman for a 2-inning save. Smith picked up the loss for McMurray.
After Hartnett hit a grand slam for McMurray in the bottom of the 4th inning, Team Marshall scored 3 runs on a pair of errors from McMurray’s corner outfielders (Williams, Sosa) mixed with 3 straight hits.
In the top of the 8th, Smith came in to pitch for Team McMurray while Báez entered off the bench in a double switch, playing second base and hitting 9th. Smith got two quick outs before Sandberg singled and Contreras walked. Santo came on to pinch hit and crushed a go-ahead 3-run shot.
Chapman struck out the side in the 8th and actually allowed a pair of singles in the 9th (including a knock by Báez in the pitcher’s spot), but induced a line drive double play and got Lofton to ground out to end the game.
For Marshall, Contreras homered in the 3rd inning and Banks led off the 4th with a solo shot. McMurray plated a pair of runs in the 1st inning on a Lofton homer and his Banks knocked in another tally with a sacrifice fly later in the frame.
Team Marshall collected 12 hits and a pair of walks in the contest while Maddux picked up the win despite allowing 6 earned runs in 7 innings.
“I just wanted to give my team a chance to win,” Maddux said after the game in a simulated interview. “I got burned on a couple of pitches. But we won the game, and that’s all that matters.”
Marshall now advances to play in the first round of the Ultimate Cubs Lineup Tournament next week.