NLDS Game 1 – Cubs Strike(out) First
I went to sleep a happy Cub fan last night, despite multiple points early where I slapped the couch in anger with all the strike outs. In the end, all that matters is the result, and that result means a 1-0 lead in the series for the Cubs.
- Kyle Hendricks deserved the game one pitching assignment and showed without a doubt why he’s the best pitcher on this staff right now. The big game pressure has not gotten to him. We saw him pitch a big game against the Dodgers last year to clinch the World Series birth and we saw him on the mound in game 7 against the Indians. He’s been clutch each time. I’ll admit that I was nervous about the matchup, especially when it looked like Stephen Strasburg was going to throw a no-hitter. I actually had that thought that he’d throw one when I watched our hitters swing at anything and everything early on. You would think that would have put a little pressure on Kyle, and if it did you couldn’t tell, but he kept tossing zeros each inning and left with the lead. Without a doubt the MVP of game one has to go to Hendricks.
- The lineup that included Kyle Schwarber in left and Ben Zobrist in RF is concerning to me from a defensive standpoint, but I get why it was there. Schwarber has been insane in the playoffs and Zobrist is a veteran that has been with Joe Maddon for a long time. He knows how to get things done. However, both looked off their game last night. Zobrist was not taking pitches out of the leadoff hole and Schwarber just didn’t have it. I’d like to see Maddon go with John Jay in CF tonight and keep Schwarber in LF. Move Jason Heyward back to RF and let Jay lead off.
- The bullpen was clutch and got the job done. I was a little surprised that Maddon brought Carl Edwards Jr in for the 8th when he had already had Pedro Strop warming up the inning before. I’m not a fan of guys getting up and then not getting in the game, but it worked.