View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



September 2017



5 with Nine to Play Really Does Sound Pretty Magical

Written by , Posted in General

So, John Lackey was starting tonight.  And I think the question on everyone’s mind was, is he more irascible, like Ernest Borgnine as Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale from McHale’s Navy, or curmudgeonly, like Vic Tayback as Mel from the T.V. show Alice?  Personally, I just kinda think he’s a dick.  But, thoughts?

Either way, I was seriously concerned about the Cubs prospects in this game with the Lackster on the bump.  Fortunately my fears were allayed early when Ryan Braun lined a single to right in the bottom of the first to drive in Neil Walker and give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.  Then in the bottom of the second more allaying was brought my way when Stephen Vogt and Brett Phillips went back to back to run Milwaukee’s lead to 3-0 and bring Lackey within spitting distance of the all-time Cubs record for most home runs given up in a season.  And you all said his record setting days were over.

In the top of the third, Jason Heyward singled to center.  Then Javier Baez grounded into a fielder’s choice.  After Lackey sacrificed Baez to second, Jon Jay roped a double into the right field corner to bring Baez around and get the Cubs on the board.  Then Kris Bryant muscled a broken bat floater into right-center to bring Jay in and things started looking a little better for the good guys in blue.

In the bottom of the third the Brewers had runners on second and third and one out, and the game looked at risk of getting out of hand.  But then Lackey induced a grounder off the bat of Travis Shaw that he fielded and then he threw a strike (pun intended) to Alex Avila to nail Mike Mills look-alike Eric Sogard who was going on contact, at home.  Next batter, Ben Zobrist did his best Javy Baez impersonation when he made a great, Willie Mays style, over the head catch on a blooper off the bat of Domingo Santana to end the inning.

After the second inning, Brandon Woodruff seemed to be coasting, but leading off the top of the 5th Jay made him throw approximately 37 pitches before lining one into right field for a single.  Then Woodruff hit Kris Bryant with a fastball.  After Anthony Rizzo sacrifice swinging bunted Jay and Bryant to 2nd & 3rd, Zobrist smacked a grounder back over Woodruff’s head to drive in both runners and give the Cubs the lead.

The Brewers tied the game in the bottom of the 5th when Shaw doubled off the left field wall to bring Braun in.  ‘Nuff said about that.

Noah Syndergaard wannabe Josh Hader mowed down the Cubs from the top of the 6th into the 8th.  He has some epically stupid hair, but I’ve got to admit he’s pretty good.

Javy Baez made everyone smile a whole lot in the bottom of the 8th when he made a diving stop to his left, then threw out Ryan “Roidhead” Braun from the outfield grass from his knees.  Braun looked back at him like, “Whaaaaa?”  It was a beautiful thing.

Hector Rondon and Mike Montgomery combined for 2 and 1/3 innings of no hit, no walk ball to carry the 4-4 tie into the ninth.  And everyone’s favorite Cub, Carl Edwards, Jr. finished off the 9th to take it into extras for the second night in a row.

In the top of the tenth the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs, and I’ll admit I had a “there’s no way they can Gregg this up,” moment.  Then Maddon sent some dude named Leonys Martin up to bat.  At which point I said to my son, “I literally have never seen that guy before in my life.”  Perhaps not surprisingly he struck out.  But then Tommy LaStella, the Cub everyone loves to hate, came through with a clutch walk to give the Cubs the lead.  Incidentally, Tommy looks like he could use a few cheeseburgers, or protein shakes or something.

C.E., Jr. made it more interesting than it needed to be by walking Perez to lead off the 9th.  Sogard then grounded into a fielder’s choice.  Then a ball in the dirt bounced in front of Willson Contreras and Sogard stole second, but Addison Russell kept the tag on him and he slid off the bag for the second out.  Craig Counsell argued that Russell had pushed Sogard off the bag, but to no avail, and just for good measure, he appealed the call, which confirmed that Sogard was indeed out, which was totally obvious to anyone who had watched the play.  Walker then flied out to Zobrist, who was in left field for some reason at that point and all was right with the world.

My takeaways from this game: Jessica Mendoza is a lot cuter than the fat guy she shared the booth with tonight, even though her eyebrows look like they were drawn on by Salvador Dali.  And Joe Maddon is really dangerous when given an expanded roster to dick around with.

  • Doug S.

    Great win!!!…..Just when you think the magic number is 4, in sneak the cardinals like a bad smell.

  • Sherm

    Dammit, Adam. That was a really good post, You had me at curmudgeonly.

    The turning point in the game in my mind, was Jhon Jhay’s incredible, never-ending, beautiful everlasting gobstopper of an at bat in the top of the fifth. It did seem like 37 pitches, but was “only” fifteen. Which realistically took an inning right out of Woodruff’s game. Jay is this team’s unsung hero. Brewer announcers (who are actually pretty good) actually tossed out a Luke Appling reference, which was great.

    I too, thought that Zobrist made a great play on that play in the third, but Cap’n Reality suggested I watch it again and then “imagine” Baez playing second, and I did. It had enough hang time that Baez catches that ball while jogging backwards, eating sunflower seeds and texting his mom to see if she’s okay. So, I’ll amend my statement to be “it was a great play FOR Zobrist” which should cover it.

    Speaking of Baez, which I like to do, even the announcers were “wha?????” when he made that play on the Braun rope. One guy said, do you realize how incredibly strong he must be to make that throw THAT strong – FROM HIS KNEES? I also got a kick out of the play at first when Baez head first slide beats the foot to the bag…and he immediately signals to Maddon to review it, and Maddon doesn’t even look at the replay first – he just signals “review it.” If Baez says he’s safe? He’s safe. Good stuff.

    Lackey is such a tool. Brewer announcers (I really should care more and learn names) said before the game when they showed him in the dugout “There’s Lackey getting his anger on.” Everybody knows he’s a tool.

    Bullpen did well, and I was happy to see Rondon look nasty again, and for once not be talking about the facial hair.

    Speaking of hair, when did the Brewer’s sign Chris Sale’s sister? She’s pretty good.

    No way I bat Leonys over LaStella in that situation. Russell was still on the bench, so Bryant could have gone to the outfield, if necessary. Martin was way over-matched.

    I watched approximately 45 seconds of the ESPN feed. Mendoza says “The Cubs second half resurgence is due to two players really carrying the team since the All-Star break – Schwarber and Russell.” I threw up a little bit in my mouth and went to the other feed and never turned it back, which is said, because I like to hear what Boone has to say…but my stupidity tolerance level was low, so…

    • Doc Raker

      Brian Anderson is the play by play guy and Bill Schroeder does the color. They are very good, honest and fair about what is going on. They are impressed with Chris Sales sister nastiness also.

      Mendoza is a fool, to give second half MVP type props to Schwarbs and a guy who has been on the DL most of the second half is absurd. Baez, Contreras and Almora with Schwarbs spending more time on the bench is the difference in the second half.

      Maybe Mendoza meant the Cubs second half resurgence is because of two players BEING OUT OF THE LINE UP allowing Baez, Contreras, Almora, Happ and JJ to play more.

      • Eddie Von White

        That has to be what she meant. Oh my! I listened to the Pat and Coomer feed. I loved it when Sogar was safe then out. Pat said in his saddest voice; “Safe at second.” Then he started to explain the ball in the dirt and stuff and suddenly in mid-sentence he shouted: “HE’S OUT!!!” HE’S OUT AT SECOND!!! I practically drove into the ditch. I thought CAPS had hijacked the booth.

        I do have a hard time explaining who these guys are to my wife that Maddon keeps trotting out all the time. She always wants to know first, last and middle initial. Where they grew up. Who their mama is and how did they get on the Cubs. I don’t usually have that information readily available.

      • Neither does Maddon.

      • just literally LOLed EVW.. thanks bud

      • Eddie Von White

        Thanks. You’re welcome

    • Adam Peters

      If “how Javy Baez would have done” it is the new standard by which great plays will be judged, the list of great plays is going to be very short from now on.

      It *was* a great play by Zobrist.

  • Ben

    I really liked the brewer announcers I also gleaned a little more knowledge about how managers used their bullpen which I would never get from len and jd #cubsdeservebetter

  • Eddie Von White

    Great post Adam. You had me at Adam Peters, General.

    • Sherm

      I didn’t even know he was in the service. Color me embarrassed. {{Salutes General Peters}}

      • Eddie Von White

        Where are my crayons?

      • Bryzzo1744

        They’re in Homer Simpson’s brain

  • Brad Lyerla

    I am in Peoria checking out our new puppy.

    I agree with everything that everyone has said, except our amazing second half was led first by Contreras. When he got hurt, Rizzo put on a 3 or four week charge and dominated in August. Then Javy, who was great defensively throughout, started getting more timely hits. Those are the guys Mendoza should have mentioned. Plus, Hendicks and Lackey had very good second halfs and Arrieta was crazy good in July and August.

    Although some might disagree, our bullpen is good and been solid all year compared to the major league mean. And Davis’ record speaks for itself.

    This has been such an interesting season.

    • cap’n realist

      Donna’s letting you get a puppy?

      • Brad Lyerla

        312-510-6253 (mobile)

      • Joe Aiello

        If I call that number, will there be a good time?

      • Brad Lyerla

        I thought everyone already knew. Donna has been texting pictures to the entire nation since he was born. Cute little guy.
        Tough loss yesterday.

  • Seymour Butts

    Who is this Wilson guy we have today?
    I don’t recognize him.

  • Doug S.

    A very winnable game slips away.

  • Doc Raker

    Cards lose, Magic # is 4.