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NLCS Game One – You win some, you lose some. Tomorrow’s another day

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GUEST POST – Eddie Von White

Game time was 7 o’clock, or somewhere in that vicinity. I made sure I had all my outside chores done. I could do my inside chores in front of the TV. In real life I act like I don’t care if the Cubs win or lose. But somehow that does not play itself out in reality. I do care if the Cubs win or lose. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t keep such a close eye on them and plan my days around their schedule. But I often ask myself, “Why do I care?” I mean, really, what have the Cubs ever done to enhance the quality and purpose of my life. They reciprocate none of my devotion. I’ve never received a thank you from them for going to a game or watching so religiously. They never say, “Well, since you came to see us, we’ll come and see you sometime.” Sure, they won the World Series, but…I still follow them.

So here we are in the middle of October and the Boys of Summer are playing a summer game in winter-like conditions. But tonight’s game is in Los Angeles. It will be summertime there. I can sit in my living room, with the rain pelting hard against the windows, the wind whipping the trees around in the yard, and the furnace kicking in to keep me warm and it will be summertime in my mind as I watch. Maybe that’s why I like them so much – it’s like a fantasy – there’s nothing real about them, but they give me an escape.

I’m writing this before the series even begins. All I can say is if they’re going to lose, I hope they do it early in the post-season as opposed to later. I hate wasting time, energy, and stress on something that is going to bite me in the end. They might as well fizzle out early to save us all the drama.

But no matter, I’ll watch to the last out of the last game – just like I do every year.

Game time: My pregame prep included fixing a leaky roof, taking a nap, and jogging two miles on the treadmill. I sent Joe an email after Game 5 asking if I could do a game once in awhile. Today, about mid-morning he tells me to give it a shot. I’m supposed to send him one after the game. He said he probably won’t post it, but he can check out my work. I’m hoping for an afternoon quickie post anyway.

My wife sees the email and asks: “Are you going to follow in your daughter’s footsteps with a VFTB post?” She thinks it’s cute that I have this little buddy thing going with my VFTB friends. She balked a little though when I told her I wanted to spend a week with Seymour in Mesa in January.

I was very optimistic about Quintana tonight and just happy the game was on TBS and not Fox. I don’t think I could take another series with the Joe Buck love affair with Clayton Kershaw.

My gut tells me the Cubs found a way to win the Nat’s series and they will find a way to win this one. My life long Cubs obsession is one of anticipation – wins. I anticipate a win tonight.

First pitch is a strike and eventually Jon Jay strikes out. The second batter, Kris Bryant breaks up the no-hitter. My wife has a question: “Why did they make the third strike rule where if the catcher misses the ball the batter can run to first?” I don’t know why, it’s just always been that way.

Rizzo walks. My wife says Kershaw is rattled. I love her insight into the emotional aspect of the game.

Quintana strikes out two in the first. They do a face shot of Q. “Who’s that?” my wife wants to know. He’s a new guy we got from the White Sox.” Immediately she sees the wisdom in the trade: “he’s good,” she said.

Turner comes up to bat: “Wait, didn’t he play for that other team we just beat?”

No. Yes. I mean … it was a different Turner, (same thing with that Taylor guy who immediately homers off Rondon). There is no way I’m going to get mad during this game. After that last game, I learned that these guys can do just about anything with nothing.

I didn’t mind Ernie Johnson but who the heck is Brian Anderson? Got tired of him real quick. I’m not even sure that’s his name, but that’s what Google told me.

I’m happy Kris Bryant isn’t striking out every time up. He hits one ten feet from the track in center and that Brian Anderson guy calls it “shallow center field.” In the bottom of the fifth as Chris Bosio waddles out to the mound, he tells us that Bosio has a fractured ankle and will have surgery after the season ends. Who knew? I thought it was just a natural waddle.

I wonder what Bryce Harper is doing tonight?

It’s the top of the seventh now and I’m beginning to be consumed with doubt. Do the Cubs have the fortitude to pull this one out of the fire or are they just going to haplessly let it slip away? I’m in the other room and my wife shouts, “Lackey is warming up in the bullpen. Is he any good?” I don’t know how to answer. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The game’s not over yet. We still have hope.

Bottom of the seventh and the play at the plate is overruled. Ron Darling’s blood is boiling, as is that of every Cub fan. My wife says, “In my book he will always be OUT, and you can put that in your story.” Done.

Maddon gets tossed. Have you ever noticed how Contreras sometimes does the splits when he’s catching like Manny Sanguillen used to on the Pirates? It looks painful.

Game over. Hapless indeed. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

  • Eddie, I LOVED reading this. Big Toe Joe would be missing a real treat if he didn’t post this or whatever else you care to write. I didn’t love the outcome of the game, of course, but this made it easier to bear. Excellent job.

  • Doc Raker

    Von Awesome stuff EVW. What is your wife name? Does she know Donna?

    I thought Q was going to carry us to victory but he just ran out of gas. Maybe it was the stress of a sick wife these past few days. These guys are not robots, life can get in the way. My wife said, “I don’t think the families should travel with the team.” I thought Q and Lackey should of been a tandem for the game tonight. We could of gotten through the game without using anyone else.

    MMM has gotten 2 people out out of the last 13 batters he has faced. Good thing that didn’t happen in Cleveland game 7.

  • Doc Raker

    If we win tonight we are in good shape. Can Lester go 7-8 innings? If not we might be in trouble

    • Brad Lyerla

      Montgomery is a huge disappointment so far this post-season. Rondon didn’t lose the game for us. But Montgomery really let the air out of the balloon.

  • Brad Lyerla

    Eddie, very nice. I really enjoyed it.

    As for Anderson, he’s got a good voice and a nice cadence. He seems to be well-prepared and knowledgeable. Early on, I liked him. That changed, however. By the end of the game, I had the feeling that Anderson is very much a Dodgers fan.

    As for the controversial call on Contrares, the only part of it that was arguable was the interpretation of why he reached out with his left foot. I thought it was more to do with putting himself in position to swing left to make the tag than to block the plate. That seemed more plausible to me. But under a strict reading of the rule, that would not have exonerated him. So, I don’t know what the heck Maddon was beefing about. Just blowing off steam, perhaps? Or trying to energize the boys? After a decent start, they did seem to run out of gas.

  • Sherm

    Tremendous post, Eddie Von Blogger! You did Katie proud.

    Every time Lackey pitches, Laffit Pincay, Jr. feels melancholy.

    You are right about Contreras, and if the idiots who run baseball actually watched a game every now and again, they’d know it, too. Darling mistakenly said that he “intentionally put his foot there to block the plate.” Come on – do you have any idea what that would mean? That he was positioning himself to take a throw from the outfield, watching the ball and the runner, and ALSO thought to himself that “if I stick my foot right THERE, and if he happens to do a hand slide, my foot will block his hand.” I never caught at that level – but I can tell you that there is not time to have that kind of thought. He was simply getting his balance and that’s how he does it. Like you said, he spreads out very low. He had no idea where his foot was in relationship to the plate – he was watching the ball. Had the runner gone feet first, he’d have easily gone through the “impenetrable barricade” of Willson’s shoe, and been safe. The rule is flawed. It’s to avoid concussion. I’m no doctor, but I don’t think that hands OR feet can get concussions. The rule should not even apply to that kind of slide. Nonetheless, they’d have lost ANYWAY.

    My rule change? No batting gloves anymore if you have to adjust them every pitch. Speed up the game by 20 minutes without changing anything.

    Still not a Bosio fan. Every pitcher on this team nibbles and is therefore susceptible to an ump with a small zone…and bad games because of it. Did anyone watch Verlander yesterday? The guy who WANTED to be a Cub and waited until 11:59 just to see if the Cubs could pull it off? He was lights out. He also did NOT nibble. He’s smart, aggressive, and gets ahead of hitters and then puts them away. But we needed Avila and Justin Wilson, and spent our last “chip” on them. And God forbid they part with anyone on the big league team (hmmm…any potential DH come to mind?) But the Cub pitching strategy is “paint the corner.” It’s ALL of them, so must be the strategy. Not a Bosio fan. I think he should be guarding a bridge.

    I’ve not been a big Rondon fan – that’s pretty well documented – but it was during the time when he sucked, so I thought the criticism was fair. I don’t blame him for last night, though. He hadn’t pitched in weeks…and should have been on the mound a FEW times in the National series. He’d been lights out the last few weeks of the regular season, and deserved to be on the roster. Coming in and NOT being perfect? It happens. He should have been left in a while longer, too. The second batter (Turner) looked bad against him. We all knew Lackey was going to get pounded.

    Rizzo has not had a hit since his “Respect me” tirade after his well placed blooper. Who doesn’t believe in baseball Gods? Bad timing to get that cocky.

    I watched Jose Altuve the last two games and thought “but for patience there goes Javy Baez.”

    Fun fact: they’re the same age but Starlin Castro has more career hits than Altuve. And Altuve has 200+ the last four years in a row.

    Maddon got ejected. I wanted to see him empty the bat rack or throw a base. He merely yelled “no fair” ten times and stomped his feet. Come on, Joe, get your MAD ON.

    Montgomery hasn’t pitched well since the game in Atlanta when he also homered. That was July 19.

    Almora is 23 and already has more savvy than most players. Leave him in. Always. He won’t hurt you.

    If Schwarber could jump, he probably still doesn’t get the Puig homer, but it would have been nice to see him try. I was wrong. He wasn’t ready to break out and start hitting. Too bad.

    I dislike the Dodgers but have ZERO patience for Puig. I want to see him get drilled with a pitch. I don’t care who hits him or when, just do it. What a punk. I don’t like bat flips on homers, but doing it on base hits shows how stupid he is. Someone needs to back him off the plate. Lackey SHOULD have, but didn’t.

    Thankfully, it’s basketball season, so Ernie Johnson is back where he belongs. Didn’t care one way or the other about Anderson, or as I like to call him “not Buck.”

    • Bryzzo1744

      I thought the interpretation was stupid also. Plus Contreras HAD THE BALL! I thought if you have the ball you don’t have to give him a lane. I thought the rule was put into place after Buster Posey got rammed and broke his leg in 2011. I love it when the catcher gets barreled into. My favorite is the 2003 NLDS when Pudge Rodridugez got barreled into, and still held onto the ball to eliminate the Giants.

      We do need to start trading some of the MLB talent. We have a surplus of outfielders

      I don’t like Puig either

      I don’t mind Ernie Johnson. I think he’s a good broadcaster

      • Sir Plus

        Leave me out of this

      • Bryzzo1744

        Good one, See More Butts

  • cap’n realist

    Missed most of last nights game due to an unfortunately timed men’s league ice hockey game. Glad I missed it, actually. Nice top part by Eddie von Sherm. Funny AND insightful. Got a few hours to charge up before heading up to the Ravine this afternoon. All can be rest assured that I’ll be rocking the same clothes I wore last year for the game 5 blowout…the Charlie Brown Cub shirt practically ensures a victory.

    • Bryzzo1744

      It worked in SD last year. Did you wear it in SD this year?

      • cap’n realist

        Only once. It couldn’t overcome the stupidity of the Anchorman theme.

  • Killed it EVW.. so excited you’re doing this..