After breaking out offensively against the White Sox during the last series of the regular season, the Cubs seemed to be heading into the postseason at a good time.
Unfortunately for them, that offensive spark wasn’t there in a 5-1 loss to the Marlins in Game 1 of the National League wild-card series Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Their offense looked much like it did for the majority of the regular season.
Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara kept the Cubs’ bats quiet for 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run and three hits. He kept the offense off-balance with fastballs, which accounted for 77% of his pitches.
‘‘You’ve got to come in [Thursday] and find a way to win,’’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. ‘‘That’s it. It doesn’t matter how, if it’s 1-0 or scoring a bunch of runs. We just have to win and continue to grind.’’
‘‘We’ve just got to come back [Thursday] and play better,” shortstop Javy Baez said. ‘‘We’ve got to hit the ball. We didn’t hit today, and they did. . . . There’s been many times that we’ve come back in a series and won it. Hopefully we win [Thursday] and see what happens.’’
The only run the Cubs scored came on a home run by center fielder Ian Happ in the fifth. Happ got a fastball over the heart of the plate after falling behind 1-2 and didn’t miss it, driving the ball for the first postseason homer of his career.
‘‘I thought we saw a lot of pitches,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘We had a couple of at-bats where we tried to ambush, [but] that didn’t work out for us. Guys have their plan up there, each individual plan.
‘‘We had some guys grind some at-bats and work some walks. We just couldn’t come up with that big swing.’’
Cubs set wild-card roster
The Cubs set their roster for the wild-card round. Because the series will be three games at the most, they chose to go with 15 position players and 13 pitchers.
There were no major surprises, with the only real additions being infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who is returning from a strained right hamstring, and catcher Josh Phegley, who gives the Cubs a third catcher. Right-hander Duane Underwood Jr. was left off the roster.
‘‘[Phegley] gives me some insurance if somebody happens to go down in a position that is a little more dangerous than others,’’ Ross said before the game.
Here’s how the roster shakes out:
Right-handed pitchers (9): Adbert Alzolay, Jason Adam, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Alec Mills, Craig Kimbrel, Jeremy Jeffress, Ryan Tepera and Dan Winkler.
Left-handed pitchers (4): Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Ryan and Andrew Chafin.
Catchers (3): Willson Contreras, Victor Caratini and Phegley.
Infielders (7): Baez, David Bote, Kris Bryant, Jason Kipnis, Nico Hoerner, Rizzo and Vargas.
Outfielders (5): Cameron Maybin, Happ, Billy Hamilton, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber.