The 2015 National League Wild Card Game was a play-in game during Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2015 postseason played between the National League's (NL) two wild card teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In MLB, the two teams with the best record in each league who do not win a division play against each other in the Wild Card Game.
The game was held at Pittsburgh's PNC Park on October 7, 2015. This was the third consecutive year that the NL Wild Card Game was played in Pittsburgh. This was the third consecutive postseason appearance for the Pirates, all of which came as a wild card qualifier, while the Cubs made the postseason for the first time since 2008. This was the first postseason meeting between the Cubs and the Pirates.
The Pirates and Cubs had finished with the second and third-best records in all of baseball during the 2015 season, with 98 and 97 wins respectively. However, since they were in the same division as the 100-win St. Louis Cardinals, they were slotted into the wild card game.
The Cubs won the game 4–0, and advanced to play the Cardinals in the NL Division Series.
|2015 National League Wild Card Game|
|Date||October 7, 2015|
|Umpires||John Hirshbeck (crew chief), Cory Blaser, Mike Estabrook, Jeff Nelson, Jim Reynolds, Hunter Wendelstedt, Dan Iassogna (replay), Mark Wegner (replay)|
|TV announcers||Ernie Johnson Jr., Ron Darling, Cal Ripken Jr., and Matt Winer|
|Radio announcers||Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton|
|WP: Jake Arrieta (1–0) LP: Gerrit Cole (0–1)|
CHC: Kyle Schwarber (1), Dexter Fowler (1)
Chicago's Jake Arrieta pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out eleven batters while allowing only five hits. The Cubs were paced offensively by Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber, both combining for five hits in seven at bats, each with a home run in the fifth (a two-run home run) and third innings (solo home run), respectively. Fowler also singled, stole second and scored the Cubs' first run in the first on Schwarber's RBI single. Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole gave up two home runs in a game for the first time in that season. Cole lasted five innings, striking out four. For the first time in 12 years, the Chicago Cubs won a postseason game and went on to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series.
The 2015 Chicago Cubs season was the 144th season for the franchise, the 140th in the National League and the 100th at Wrigley Field. They began the season on April 5, 2015 in a first-ever night game home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at partially renovated Wrigley Field, and finished on October 4, 2015 on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs finished the season with the third-best record in baseball (97–65) which was also the third-best in their division, finishing one game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates (98–64) and three games behind the division winner, the rival St. Louis Cardinals (100–62). As a result, they qualified for the second wild card spot for the 2015 postseason and defeated the Pirates in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game and faced the Cardinals in the Division Series. The Cubs defeated St. Louis in four games and advanced to play the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series. It was the Cubs' first appearance in the NLCS since 2003. However, they were swept in four games and were unable to make it to their first World Series since 1945, which they would do the next season.
In 2015, Forbes valued the Cubs at $1.8 billion, ranking them 17th out of all sports franchises in the world, and the fifth highest in all MLB. The Cubs attendance for the regular season was 2,959,812, up over 300,000 from the previous year.2015 National League Championship Series
The 2015 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven playoff contested between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets for the National League (NL) pennant and the right to play in the 2015 World Series. The Mets swept the Cubs four games to none for their fifth National League pennant in franchise history. The series was the 46th in league history with TBS airing all games in the United States. Game 1 was played on October 17.This was the first postseason meeting between the Mets and Cubs, and first NLCS in which the losing team never had a lead during a game. It was also the first since 2007 to end in a sweep and the third best-of-seven NLCS to do so (the other being in 1995).
The Mets would go on to lose to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series in five games.2015 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the franchise's 134th season overall, the 129th season as a member of National League, and 15th season at PNC Park. The regular season began with a loss at Great American Ball Park against the Cincinnati Reds on April 6 and ended with a win against the Reds at PNC Park on October 4. The Pirates finished the regular season with the second best record in baseball, finishing in second place for the third consecutive year in the National League Central Division with 98 wins and 64 losses.
The Pirates clinched their third consecutive playoff berth on September 23, finishing second in their division behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The team secured one of two NL Wild Card spots. The Pirates lost to the Chicago Cubs in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game on October 7 and were, as a result, eliminated from the 2015 postseason.
Four members of the 2015 Pirates were selected to represent the National League in the All-Star Game, including pitcher A. J. Burnett for the first time in his career in his final major league season. In addition, one player was named NL Player of the Month: Andrew McCutchen in August, one was named NL Rookie of the Month: Jung-ho Kang in July, and one was named NL Pitcher of the Month: Gerrit Cole in April. On October 2, the penultimate game of the regular season, the Pirates set a PNC Park season attendance record for the second consecutive year at 2,498,596, beating the record set in 2014 (2,442,564).Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The team plays its home games at Wrigley Field, located on the city's North Side. The Cubs are one of two major league teams in Chicago; the other, the Chicago White Sox, is a member of the American League (AL) Central division. The Cubs, first known as the White Stockings, were a founding member of the NL in 1876, becoming the Chicago Cubs in 1903.The Cubs have appeared in a total of eleven World Series. The 1906 Cubs won 116 games, finishing 116–36 and posting a modern-era record winning percentage of .763, before losing the World Series to the Chicago White Sox ("The Hitless Wonders") by four games to two. The Cubs won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908, becoming the first major league team to play in three consecutive World Series, and the first to win it twice. Most recently, the Cubs won the 2016 National League Championship Series and 2016 World Series, which ended a 71-year National League pennant drought and a 108-year World Series championship drought, both of which are record droughts in Major League Baseball. The 108-year drought was also the longest such occurrence in all major North American sports. Since the start of divisional play in 1969, the Cubs have appeared in the postseason ten times through the 2018 season.The Cubs are known as "the North Siders", a reference to the location of Wrigley Field within the city of Chicago, and in contrast to the White Sox, whose home field (Guaranteed Rate Field) is located on the South Side.
The Cubs have multiple rivalries. There is a divisional rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals, a newer rivalry with the Milwaukee Brewers and an interleague rivalry with the Chicago White Sox.Clint Hurdle
Clinton Merrick Hurdle (born July 30, 1957) is an American former professional baseball outfielder and current manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. Hurdle played in MLB for the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals, and has also managed for the Colorado Rockies.
Labeled a "phenom" by Sports Illustrated at age twenty, Hurdle played 515 games at the major league level. After retiring from playing baseball, Hurdle became a manager. His eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies included leading the 2007 club to the franchise's first National League (NL) pennant. On November 14, 2010, the Pirates hired him to be their manager. In 2013, Hurdle led them to their first winning season and playoff appearance since 1992. He was named the NL Manager of the Year that season.Cory Blaser
Cory Steven Blaser (born December 8, 1981) is a Major League Baseball umpire. He umpired his first major league game on April 24, 2010. His uniform number is 89.Dexter Fowler
William Dexter Fowler (born March 22, 1986) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, and Chicago Cubs. He represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics as a member of the United States national baseball team.Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Alan Cole (born September 8, 1990), nicknamed Cole Train, is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he played college baseball for the UCLA Bruins. Cole previously pitched in MLB for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cole played for the baseball team at Orange Lutheran High School, and was selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Cole opted not to sign and instead attended UCLA. After his college baseball career, the Pirates made Cole the first overall selection in the 2011 MLB draft. Cole made his MLB debut in 2013 and was named the National League (NL) Rookie of the Month in September 2013. He was named the NL Pitcher of the Month for April 2015, and an MLB All-Star in 2015. The Pirates traded Cole to the Astros in the 2017–18 offseason.Jake Arrieta
Jacob Joseph Arrieta (born March 6, 1986) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs.
Arrieta played college baseball at Weatherford Junior College and at Texas Christian University (TCU). He was an All–American and was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year at TCU. The Orioles selected Arrieta in the fifth round of the 2007 MLB draft, and he signed a then record contract for a fifth round draft pick. He pitched for the United States national baseball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, winning the bronze medal.
He made his big league debut for the Orioles in 2010, and after four seasons Arrieta was traded to the Cubs in 2013. In 2015, Arrieta led MLB in wins with 22, pitched a no-hitter, and won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award. In 2016, he was an NL All Star, threw his second no-hitter, was awarded a Silver Slugger Award, and won a World Series with the Cubs.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Arrieta signed a three-year, $75 million contract as a free agent with the Phillies. On August 17, 2019, it was announced that he would have season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow.Jeff Nelson (umpire)
Jeffrey Nelson (born on June 1, 1965) is an umpire in Major League Baseball who was named to the National League staff prior to the 1999 season, and has worked throughout both major leagues since 2000. Nelson, a graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, wears uniform number 45. He was promoted to crew chief starting for the 2014 season.Kris Bryant
Kristopher Lee Bryant (born January 4, 1992) is an American professional baseball third baseman and outfielder for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to playing professionally, Bryant attended the University of San Diego, where he played college baseball for the Toreros.
Bryant starred in baseball for Bonanza High School. In college, he was named an All-American in 2012 and 2013, and won the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award in 2013. The Cubs selected him with the second overall selection in the 2013 MLB draft and he quickly became one of the top prospects in baseball, winning the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award and Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award in 2014.
Bryant made his major league debut in 2015. He was named an MLB All-Star and won the National League's (NL) Rookie of the Year Award. He was again named an All-Star in 2016, won a World Series championship with the Cubs, and was named the NL's Most Valuable Player.Steve Bartman incident
The Steve Bartman incident was a controversial play that occurred during a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins on October 14, 2003, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, during Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2003 postseason.
The incident occurred in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), with Chicago leading 3–0 and holding a three games to two lead in the best-of-seven series. Marlins batter Luis Castillo hit a fly ball into foul territory in left field. Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou pursued the ball and leapt near the fence in an attempt to make the catch. Along with other spectators seated against the wall, Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached for the ball, but he deflected it, disrupting Alou's potential catch. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning their first National League pennant since 1945. The Cubs ultimately allowed eight runs in the inning, and lost the game 8–3. When they were eliminated in Game 7 the next day, the incident was seen as the "first domino" to fall in affecting the series's outcome.In the moments following the play, Cubs fans shouted insults and threw debris at Bartman. For his safety, security was forced to escort him from the ballpark. Minutes after the game, his name and personal information were published online, necessitating police protection at his home. He faced further harassment from fans and the media after the Cubs' loss in the series, as he was scapegoated for the continuation of the team's then 95-year championship drought. Bartman apologized for the incident and stated his desire to move past it and return to a quiet life. Many Cubs players came to his defense, emphasizing that their performance was to blame for their loss.
In 2011, ESPN produced a documentary film exploring the subject as part of its 30 for 30 series. Titled Catching Hell, the film drew comparisons between the Bartman incident and Bill Buckner's fielding error late in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, and explored the incident from different perspectives. In an effort to reconcile with Bartman and put the incident behind them, the Chicago Cubs awarded him a championship ring after their victory in the 2016 World Series.
Part of the 2015 Major League Baseball season
|American League teams|
|National League teams|
|Lore televised by Turner|
|AL Championship Series|
|NL Championship Series|
|AL Division Series|
|NL Division Series|
|AL Wild Card Game|
|NL Wild Card Game|
|AL Championship Series|
|NL Championship Series|
|AL Division Series|
|NL Division Series|
|AL Wild Card Game|
|NL Wild Card Game|
|Little League Classic|
|World Series |
|League pennants (9)|
|Division titles (9)|
|Wild Card berths (3)|