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Monday

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October 2017

40

COMMENTS

What’s Good and What’s Bad After Game Two

Written by , Posted in General

The words of consolation that circulated the party that I attended on Saturday night were, “If someone had said before the series started that we would split in DC, then we would have said, ‘Good. We’ll take that.'” And that is what is good right now. We are 1 and 1 with the next two games to be played in Wrigley Field.

What else is good is that we have Jose Quintana going Monday night and he has been going very well. The Nationals, on the other hand, have Max Scherzer going. And he is not going well. We should take that gladly too.

I am also optimistic about our offense. Saturday night, it never felt to me like three runs would be enough. But I like that Rizzo has stepped up with four RBIs and Bryant has scored three runs. Those are our core guys and they have put up decent numbers. We need more runs in the coming games, but remember last year? We had two serious offensive droughts during our post-season last year. With Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant doing their thing now, it feels like we won’t have to endure anything like that again this year.

What is bad right now is obvious. Will Joe Maddon find someone he trusts to handle the eighth inning? Pedro Strop probably has Maddon’s trust for the seventh. But given the C.J. Edwards, Jr./Michael Montgomery blow up Saturday night, who will be trusted to take the eighth? This is going to be a real test for Maddon. We know that trust in big moments is his biggest issue. He doesn’t seem to have enough. And lack of trust leads him to do weird and questionable things. Some might call it choking. It is unfortunate, but the tough loss Saturday night puts this question back into sharp focus. Can Joe control his emotions to avoid over-managing when the going gets tough?

We should be able to scratch out a win at Wrigley this week. I am not discounting that we can win both with Quintana and Jake Arietta starting for us. But if we do head back to DC for game five, I envision Maddon starting Kyle Hendricks and bringing in Jon Lester in the fifth or sixth to get the game to Wade Davis in the ninth. Then, if we advance to the Championship Series, I see John Lackey getting a start early in that series to get the rotation back on a semi-normal schedule. But God help us, let’s hope that I am wrong. Not because I don’t trust Lackey. But because if Joe starts over-managing in the first round of the play offs, it is hard for me to believe that we will survive to the last round.

But here we are in the post-season with a fine team that is playing well and heading home to the best stadium in major sports. That is very, very good, indeed.

  • Sherm

    Optimism purely for the sake of optimism does nothing for me. Accepting a split when it should have been a sweep in DC doesn’t placate me. It’s a weak rationalization of the facts.

    The baseball season, as repeated over and over throughout the year, is a marathon. Well, the marathon is over. Mistakes are amplified. I don’t feel good simply because of the huge emotional and momentum swing that was HANDED to the Nationals. This is a sprint and the Cubs stumbled. Can they catch up? We will find out. I HOPE they can. I’m not CONFIDENT, though.

    Rumor is that LaStella starts in place of Baez. I don’t like weakening the infield defense but understand getting that bat in the game.

    I think Quintana will be fine, but I expect Scherzer to be a beast.

    Hendricks to Lester to Davis was stupid last year and would be stupider this year.

    I don’t know what offense you’re watching, but the Cubs I’ve watched haven’t been very good with the exception of Rizzo.

    • Adam Peters

      Taking Baez out would be a mistake. We are not going to win this series by out-slugging Washington.

      • Michael S.

        You might want to tell Javy that–he’s swinging at everything like it’s gonna be a 5-run home run.

      • Adam Peters

        We could use a 5-run HR.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Half the guys on this site were ready to name Javy the Cubs MVP three weeks ago, and they were calling for Rizzo’s scalp.

        Get a grip everyone.

        Their stars stepped up on Saturday night. Ours have to respond.

        We are not playing bad baseball. Let’s not panic. My worry is that Joe will start “vibrating” the way Sherm and others are this morning and he will start over-reacting. That’s his Achilles heel.

        I would like to see the Cubs walk Harper every at bat this afternoon. Cool him off.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        The best thing for Javy when he is swinging for that five run homer is to sit him for a couple of at bats, he will calm down and then hit the homer he is trying too hard to hit.

      • Sherm

        I’m vibrating and have lost my grip? Gee, thank God for you as the self appointed voice of reason.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Sherm, if I hurt your feelings, then I owe you a beer. That was not my intent. But I do disagree with you about some things, and most often about your tone.

        I assume that is allowed. No one told me otherwise.

      • Michael S.

        Baez is out of the lineup, Zobrist at 2B, Schwarber-Jay-Heyward in the OF.

      • Adam Peters

        Well, Schwarber can hit a 5-run HR too. So all is not lost.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I would rather see LaStella than Zobrist.

      • good god why?

      • Adam Peters

        Thank God Zobrist is in there. His 1 for 8 series has Scherzer quaking in his boots, I am sure. Only thing that could be better is if he’s leading off.

  • Adam Peters

    If Maddon keeps playing Zobrist in RF it WILL come back to bite him. He’s been extremely lucky so far.

    Scherzer has been inconsistent in the postseason. Last time out, in ’14, he got ROCKED by Baltimore.

    And speaking of Scherzer, clearly his hammy is an issue. They never would have pushed him back this far if it wasn’t. Hamstrings take forever to heal. I don’t see him making 5 innings this afternoon.

  • Doc Raker

    If Q pitches like his last start I like our chances today. It doesn’t sound like Scherzer is a 100% so we need to take advantage of that. On Tuesday we have the same issue with Jake who is not 100%. This game is HUGE.

  • Karen Hirsh

    I wish I were more optimistic. However, I don’t think they are going to beat the Nats. Let this year go and maybe get some better and younger pitchers for next season. Pitching is the name of the game.

    • You’re literally the worst Cubs fan I’ve ever seen.

      • Bryzzo1744

        She’s an undercover white sox fan!

      • Seymour Butts

        You are forgetting Orville “2 fingers” Llumpkin.
        Raised a Cub fan around the early 1900’s, he actively booed at every Mordecai Brown outing, likely out of jealousy. Later Sold Sam a baby billy goat.

  • Adam Peters

    1.) Jay (L)
    2.) Bryant (R)
    3.) Rizzo (L)
    4.) Contreras (R)
    5.) Zobrist (S*)
    6.) Schwarber (L)
    7.) Heyward (L)
    8.) Russell (R)
    9.) Quintana (R)

    I’m sure Joe noticed how nifty Dusty’s L-R-L-R… lineup was and wanted to emulate it, but he seems to have lost focus after the 5-hitter.

    * He sucks as a (R)

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      The (S) broke his iPad.

  • Buddy

    Would have really liked to see Happ in there tonight. Scherzer’s only real weakness is giving up the long ball.

    • Michael S.

      Happ instead of Schwarber in LF or La Stella over Zobrist at 2B…one of those two and this lineup is a fair bit better. Not sure I’d go with both.

    • cap’n realist

      could not agree more, Buddy. It’s tough to string together hits against a guy like Scherzer…we need some more pop in the lineup…Jay, Heyward, and Zo do not provide that.

  • Michael S.

    I should have called in sick to work today…cough cough…

    • Doc Raker

      I am sick after that Schwarber boot(s)

      • Seymour Butts

        I’m feeling much better now.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m feeling great.

  • Doc Raker

    What good is a switch hitter if he can’t hit from either side of the plate?

  • Doc Raker

    Mabye we should call Zo a Switch Out Maker.

    • Doc Raker

      Hey dumbass, Zo got a hit

      • Seymour Butts

        Dude, seek help. Schizophrenics talk to themselves less.

      • Doc Raker

        And made a great play on D. Time for you to pipe down.

  • Seymour Butts

    Phew!
    perhaps the worst Cubs fan ever (second worst) has a point.

  • Doc Raker

    Zo got a big hit

    • cap’n realist

      If they can play that shitty and still win….

      • Doc Raker

        They beat the Giants last year 3 games to 1 and hit less than .200 as a team for the series. Our starting pitchers have allowed 1 earned run in the 3 games verse the Nationals.

      • Eddie Von White

        versus

      • Doc Raker

        Old habits die hard

      • Seymour Butts

        LMFAO!
        Thank you.

        (to be fair, there are words I consistently misspell. Thank goodness for spellcheck)