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October 2017

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NLDS Game 4 – Another Worthless Experience

Written by , Posted in General

Well, there was nothing fun about that. For those of you who were fortunate enough to have completely missed the game, I’ll recap it for you. First, let’s take a look at the Cubs offense. {Pause for effect} Bwaahahahahahahahahaha. It’s funny because they had no offense. Sure, they squeaked out three hits, one of which went 34 feet, but for the most part – the offense was feeble. Kris Bryant had, in my opinion, his worst game offensively since his first day in the majors. Strasburg made him look silly. Four incredibly weak strikeouts, mostly swinging at pitches and not even coming close. Anthony “respect me” Rizzo was almost equally as feeble, but he did have one long at bat with a lot of foul balls. Still went 0-3 with a walk and two whiffs, but hey, I respect the shit out of those foul balls.

Let’s credit Strasburg – the guy bounced back from the Bubonic Plague on Wednesday to throw one hell of a game. 12 strikeouts. 3 looking. 6 swinging. Two with his eyes closed. One behind his back with a 6’ arc. No one could hit his changeup with two strikes, which is too bad because he threw it every time someone had two strikes. He did not look like he’d been on death’s door the day before. Maybe his nasal spray had steroids in it. Maybe he’s pitching tomorrow, too.

I think we should announce that Hendricks has gas. Or whooping cough. Whatever. And that Lackey is pitching. At the last minute, Hendricks says he’s fine, and he pitches! Brilliant strategy, no?

Speaking of Lackey – he did warm up a little in the ninth. Thank God he’s on the roster and got to do that.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the recap. Arrieta was good. Not great. Control issues again, and walked FIVE, but kept it together. Gave up a third inning double to Turner, and seemed to have pitched around it, but what should have been an inning ending 6-3 turned into a Russell error and an unearned run. So, Jake takes the loss, which is stupid, because, well, HE didn’t lose the game. For that matter, neither did Russell, really, because the Cubs didn’t score at all, and THAT is why they did not win this game. All runs matter.

Arrieta was relieved by Jon Lester. At first, I didn’t know if that was a good idea, but Lester was dealing. Pitched great, and even picked off Ryan Zimmerman at first base. Yes, you read that right. Nobody said “wow…looked like Steve Carlton for a minute” but hey, it was a pickoff, so…

Lester was terrific. Unfortunately, after a cheesy little single in the 8th by Murphy – and Lester with only 55 pitches thrown – Maddon decided to, well, be Maddon. He pulls Lester, who had given up NOTHING. The single was the only hit and it wasn’t hit well. He goes to Carl Edwards, Jr. who flat out did NOT have it. He didn’t have it for Rendon, who he walked, or Wieters, who he (surprise) also walked. I mean – WE all know that when CEJ doesn’t have it? He doesn’t just “find it.” But Joe let him go. You know, a good learning experience. Even let him throw a ball one to Michael “I have a middle initial, too, who gives a shit” Taylor. Then, Joe woke up and realized “holy shit, I shouldn’t have taken out Lester, but I have Wade Davis semi-warm in the pen!” So in comes Davis and he gives up a grand slam to the aforementioned Taylor. 5-0. And that’s how it ended.

Oh, Justin Wilson pitched a little in the ninth and didn’t hurt himself or anyone around him. By then the game was decided.

A word about Edwards and the coaching – it’s always so obvious when he hasn’t got it. Don’t the coaches see that, too? Bosio came out to talk to him, and that changes nothing. He’s either lights out, or (lights on?) whatever the opposite of lights out is. Bosio looks like he should be guarding a bridge.

Some Cub fans said the game two loss was no big deal. They got what they wanted – a split in DC. Well, Joe Maddon pulled Jon Lester too early in game two, and it cost a potential SWEEP in three. One that would have meant this series was OVER now. They say history repeats itself, but in a span of five days? Again he pulls Lester too soon, and…you get the point. I’m beating a dead Lackey here.

Highlight of the night. Ernie Johnson talking about a conversation taking place in the Nationals dugout. Maybe some of you heard it, too. Werth is talking to a coach. He’s talking to 72 year old Davey Lopes. Apparently Lopes has added 72 year old in front of his name, because Johnson CAN’T talk about him WITHOUT saying it like that. Anyway, he (Ernie) says, and I quote, “the nuggets come from that guy one right after the other.” It would have been a GREAT time for a Depends commercial. That’s all I’m saying.

I hope that Maddon allows Hendricks to pitch as long as he is being effective, and doesn’t pull him just to do it. He said tonight that Quintana will be available like Lester was. Just because it worked with Lester – please don’t pull Hendricks early to be clever. Let the game play out. Let the pitchers pitch. And let’s hope to God the Cubs can score some runs.

  • Michael S.

    If the Cubs manage a win tomorrow…I pray to any frickin’ deity that will listen that they don’t touch Quintana. Why? Because if he throws for any appreciable length of time, here’s your options for game 1 of the NLCS:

    Arrieta on short rest–after he only managed 4 innings.
    Lester on short rest–for the second appearance in a row
    Lackey on super extra rest–because you need SOMEONE whose arm isn’t going to fall off.

    That’s a veritable buffet of crap sandwich options.

    • Bryzzo1744

      This. Who would pitch game 1 if both Hendricks and Quintana go today? My guess is it would have to be a bullpen game

    • Kyle

      I’d be OK with Lackey going against Kershaw. Probably a throw away game in LA anyway. Don’t waste a stud. But, gotta get there first. That’s all that matters right now.

  • Colin Kruse

    I like the title to your piece. It juxtaposes mine quite well.

    • Shakespeare

      It was juxtaso-shitty game

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Leave it to Shakespeare to say everything well!

  • Eddie Von White

    The best part of yesterday’s game was today’s blog. I wish I could laugh.

  • Brad Lyerla

    I thought the Cubs would find a way to win it until the the grand slam. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Arrieta did not have his best stuff but gutted it out and gave up one unearned run. Russell should have made that play, but he didn’t and that sometimes happens even with a good ball club.

    When Maddon sent Lester out to start the fifth, I was OK with it. Jake did not have a clean inning and it seemed only a matter of time.

    But when Maddon pulled Lester after the Murphy single, I did not get it. Lester was still strong and we needed only one out to finish that half inning.

    Otherwise, I was OK with Joe’s moves. Edwards had no feel and could not find the strike zone, so it made sense to bring Davis in, though we all have seen that guys like Davis are not at their best when pitching without a lead to protect.

    Sherm is right about our offense, but that was more about their pitching than our hitters. Strasburg was magnificent. Only Russell’s drive and Zobrist’s double were hit hard. And he made Kris Bryant look awful. I am a little worried that the league has figured Bryant out. He does not see the change up, if it is down. And he rarely swings at the first pitch. Consequently, that’s often the only good pitch that he sees in an at bat. (He still managed to lead the team in a number of advanced stats this season, so who knows?) Whatever, Strasburg had his number.

    There is reason to be hopeful, and I am. I like Hendricks and I like the moxie on our ball club. The biggest surprise yesterday for me was the outcome in the Yankee series. If a team looked like it was ticketed to move on, it was the Clevelands. But not this year, folks . . . .

    • Michael S.

      The moves that were made, I can deal with…it’s the one that wasn’t that chafes my arse. Letting Edwards twist in the wind like that was a mistake. He had the command of Stevie Wonder out there, it wasn’t like he was getting squeezed by the ump.

      • Brad Lyerla

        He saw only two hitters. Maybe one should have been enough. But the way he pitched Tues made it rational for Maddon to let him see another. He is our number one strike out guy for the eighth inning and we needed only one out . . .

  • There was something about the (predictable) first-pitch-swinging double play that Baez hit into somewhere in the middle innings that made it click in my head “they’re going to be shut out today.” Which I accidentally typed as “shit out” just now. Appropriate either way.

    I had to keep reminding myself that it was just one run. But it seemed like such a steep hill to climb watching K after K after K. How could they not know what pitch he was going to throw in those situations? I knew! I couldn’t hit his pitches either but after the second or third strike out I’d have known to stand there and let myself be rung up rather than continue to swing at balls in the dirt.

    Maybe THAT’S why I’m not in the major leagues. I knew it was something.

    • Adam Peters

      In the middle of the game my 12 year old son said, “if I was one of the Cubs and I saw a ball start out at the bottom of the strike zone I wouldn’t swing.”

      EXACTLY!!!

      • Doc Raker

        I think the same and then wonder how hard that really is on a 90mph change up since I have never seen one while standing in a batters box.

      • I guess I don’t really care if they hit it. It seemed unhittable. I might have liked them to not flail away at it. Be called out. At that point it wasn’t going to be any worse than the golfing.

      • Adam Peters

        Strasburg’s changeup *is* 88-90 mph. His Fastball is 97-98.

    • Eddie Von White

      That and they would have had to build you a separate locker room in all the stadiums.

      • I’m good with gender neutral.

  • Adam Peters

    Bryant looked so ridiculously over matched yesterday. And they kept referring to him as the MVP. Not this year guys.

    Credit where credit is due: Straburg pitched great. He threw a ton of strikes and kept his pitch count low. When Baez hit into that DP on the first pitch that more or less sealed the Cubs fate as it allowed Strasburg at least one additional inning, pitch count wise.

    I’m guessing we see Scherzer tonight. Maddon better let Handricks roll.

    Why would he bring in Quintana for long relief? Isn’t that why Lackey is on the roster? I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Lackey in for 2-3 innings. If he really aired it out I bet he could hit 97.

    • Brad Lyerla

      I think we might see Scherzer tonight too.

      As for Baez, he is not the guy you want up in a tight situation versus elite pitching, but Babe Ruth would have struggled against Strasburg yesterday.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Strasburg’s low pitch count is a reflection of poor at-bats by the Cubs. They should have known his Change-up was coming and adjusted the way Rod Carew would. They also should be taking more pitches in their at-bats, all of the National’s pitchers have had low pitch counts because the Cubs are swinging at too many first pitches.

      • Eddie Von White

        Tony Conigliaro would have adjusted as well.

  • Doc Raker

    Hendricks is the best pitcher we got so we have that going for us. We all know this line up can score a bunch so……go score a bunch……

    After Zo’s double Strasburg balked by not setting before he threw and the umps didn’t catch it. Ron and Cooms reported that Maddon was furious. Cooms said, “All 6 umps missed it.” The next pitch Russell hit what would have been an RBI sac fly, instead it was a fly out and the Cubs failed to score the run.

    I thought Arrieta should of gone out for one more inning. He was at 88 pitches and the pitchers spot was due up 3rd the next inning. You have to let Arrieta throw 100-110 unless he is in real trouble and although he scuffled he didn’t allow an earned run. Had Arrieta gone 1 more inning a pinch hitter could of been deployed and then you put Lester in. Lester would of then went into the 9th or maybe finished the game- Lester was great.

    Again- someone explain- why do we have 3 lefties in the bullpen if CJ is our only 8th inning option?

    • Adam Peters

      Arrieta really struggled in that last inning. He threw 2 balls to Rendon before he doubled. He threw 3 to Weiters before he lined out. He walked Taylor on 5 pitches. He walked Turner on 4 pitches to load the bases. With the bases loaded he did regain his focus and threw strikes to Werth.

      Needless to say, it was a minor miracle he got out of that inning unscathed.

  • cap’n realist

    It really doesn’t matter who pitches game 1 against the Dodgers if you lose today. It’s an all hands on deck game. If Lackey has to go game 1 in L.A., that’s a good problem to have, especially considering how bad the Cubs have looked in this series. If they can beat the Nats while playing shitty, I’ll believe they can beat the Dodgers playing mediocre. As a bonus, if Lackey goes out and shits the bed in game 1, there’s a real chance I never have to see his horse face hovering above a Cubs jersey again in my lifetime.

    • That IS a bonus.

    • And you’re right. They really HAVE been shitty. Even the W’s were half-assed. (Not turning them away. Just stating fact. Or, re-stating fact that you and Sherm have been stating all along. Guess I’ve been vibrating too. 😳)

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I am hoping we get to see horse face sitting on the bench in one more World Series.

  • Brad Lyerla

    One more thing from me this morning. John Jay and Ben Zobrist are showing the value of experience. They are not changing their approach. They are thinking at the plate. They are calm when others are pressing. After Rizzo, they have had the most impact offensively.

    Neither has been a favorite on this site this season. But I give Maddon credit. These are two guys you want out there when the heat is on.

    • I definitely give Zobrist credit. He’s been our offensive powerhouse (!!!)

      I don’t give Maddon the credit. He plays him when he’s doing well and he plays him when he’s not. No brilliant decision making there.

      • Shakespeare

        Zo is 3-15 with some painful double plays to his credit. Jay is 1-7.

        Juggernauts? Jugger-nots?

    • Eddie Von White

      Jhon Jhay hasn’t been without respect on this site.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Several of us thought he’d be a goner by mid-season. I know I did. And sherm did too.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I remember seeing Sherm praise his professionalism and fundamentals. So, yeah. I get that some folks see his value. But I like the way that he carries himself and his headiness. Among our position players, he and Zobrist are the two who seem to have their wits about them the past few games.

      • Eddie Von White

        Without referring to stats, my eyes remind me that he was Mr. Clutch quite often this year.

  • Yuck. Here’s to tonight.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Love this headline in the Tribune today:

    Cubs’ key to Game 5: Tackle Joe Maddon if he tries to remove Kyle Hendricks
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/rosenblog/ct-kyle-hendricks-joe-maddon-cubs-rosenbloom-20171012-column.html