“Maybe Next Year” -Cardinal’s Nation
The Iowa Cubs, err, the Chicago Catchers, no.. The 2017 Central Division Champions (there it is!) pull out a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals in 11 innings. The team’s 90th win of the season was the last feather plucked from the Cardinals’ playoff hopes. In my opinion, mathematically eliminating your pompous division rival certainly justifies another champagne celebration. Talk about an exclamation point ending to their season; a game ending, robbed home run in the 11th innings is enough to make Leyones Martin hated among baseball’s “Best Fans”. This is the second consecutive season the playoffs will be free from the Devil Magic virus, a baseball tradition we can all certainly get used to. Don’t get me wrong, the thought of a Cubs-Cardinals NLCS has fascinated me since the 2015 division series, but I’ll need to attend few more Cubby Blue parades before actively rooting for both teams to fight for the pennant. While the Cubs struggled to get their feet under them in the division, it certainly wasn’t anything the Cardinals were doing, with a season series of 14-5 in favor of the Central Champs. That’s taking care of business. “That’s Cub!”
Professor Kyle Hendricks’ final lecture of the season was masterful; allowing just four hits over five innings, striking out nine and walking only one. Surely his last start of the regular season, the question surround Kyle is not if, but when he will start against the Washington Nationals. Last season it was a fairly easy decision to have Kyle pitch at Wrigley Field as much as possible. This season doesn’t seem as clear, and maybe it’s just due to a smaller sample size because of his time on the disabled list. The overall inconsistency of the starting rotation makes for a lot of question marks going into the Division Series. My only guess as to how they set the rotation is to split up the lefties and righties, but who starts game 1? I don’t know that there is an “obvious” choice based on performance, but based on experience you give it to Jon Lester. Assuming that is the case, I would say Lester, Arrieta, Quintana, Hendricks makes a lot of sense. What do you think? I could see it going a number of different ways, and let’s not forget John Lackey still exists, especially if Jake Arrieta’s leg problem (which still bothered him on Wednesday) is more than nothing.
A couple quick notes: Ian freaking Happ.
Wow. If you asked me in mid-May (when he was called up), I would have guessed he was destined for the 2017 taxi squad. Hell, in March I didn’t see much hope for him on the 2017 roster at all, and here we are (link). We would have seen him up and down when needed, which, due to the Russell injury would have been quite a bit anyway. I had him probably hovering around 10 home runs, yet here he is on the doorstep of 25 long balls and a legitimate case for postseason regular. Kudos, kid.
Justin Wilson: The only thing you can say is that he has shown flashes, which is far less than expected when the trade was made. Hopefully, something in the October air ignites that fire within, allowing him to be the weapon he can be. He struck out three hitters, but still walked one :/ boo.
John Lackey: Was that Jon Lester speech, in which he said Lack could have just made his final regular season start, supposed to be heard by cameras? But that’s not why I bring him up. I do so because, I see the Cubs making room for him on the playoff roster. I think its between him and third catcher Rene Revera for that final spot. I know Joe enjoys that versatility of the third catcher, but I think Lackey can be effective in a long relief/all-hands-on-deck/innings-eating role.
Its W season, folks. Buckle up.