Still Baseball to be Played
Well, that one stunk.
The night started like we all wanted: early lead, and a loud one at that with first three hitters putting the ball in play over 100 mph off the bat. Still, not all that glitters is gold, and the Cubs get two on but add no more. Hindsight makes that inning more annoying than it was at the time. I don’t know about you, but headed to the second with a 1-0 lead after that many hard hit balls, and Kyle Hendricks on the mound SHOULD having you feeling good. They call it momentum, but does that even exist in baseball? If it does, it lasted a whole two pitches into the top of the second inning, when Andre Ethier took a Kyle Hendricks sinker deep to right field. At the time, I didn’t even know who hit it. It wasn’t until his next at bat that I looked at the video board and said “Andre Ethier is still alive?” and then noticed the “HR” in the box score under his name. Cool.
The rest of the game was as frustrating as this entire postseason has been. The first inning had a lot of energy, fizzled to nothing, and in the end Yu Darvish only had to throw 16 pitches. The Dodgers took the lead in the third on a Chris “Create-a-player” Taylor homerun into the bushes in center, and Yu was officially settled in after retiring the top of the order with nothing but a Kris Bryant bloop single to show for it. Is it just me, or have tie ballgames this postseason felt like a two run deficit? If you are in that boat with me, then Taylor’s (or should I say Mike Trout Jr’s) 5th inning RBI triple to put them down by two actual runs felt like the game was essentially over. While you’d be right in the sense that the chances of a Cubs comeback were slim, you’d have been wrong to think they were done showing us who the better team in this series is.
Before you jump on him like the kind folks of twitter dot com have, I’m not really even talking about Carl Edward’s outing. If you told me he would enter with two on and no out, and only let up one run, I’m taking that all day. The walk to Austin Barnes, while certainly frustrating, was not the worst thing he could have done in the situation. With runners on second and third, the walk set him back up for an inning ending double play, which is why you bring him into that spot in the first place. Instead, he gets Joc Pederson to fly out to right field and brings the pitcher to the plate with two outs. Any momentum that was building from this inning ending Houdini act fell to the wayside, and not because he walked the pitcher on four pitches to put the Dodger lead at three. Carl came back to strike out Chris Taylor, on three pitches, and instead of rally towels and pumping fists, he was booed by his home crowd. The Wrigley crowd had a chance to rally the troops and show their love and support and maybe get some kind of weird baseball mojo thing cooking with 4-5-6 coming up, and they chose to belittle their own. Be better than that.
(No, I’m not trying to rationalize walking the freaking pitcher, I’m simply giving you some perspective. If you booed/scapegoated Carl last night, whether from the stands or from your couch, maybe sit this one out tonight and come back for game 5 on Thursday).
When it comes time for the playoffs, you’ll need to be one of two things: Either you’re the best team in baseball (that’s the Dodgers) or you’re hot at the right time (that’s the Yankees), and no matter who you are, you’re going to need a whole bunch of luck to go along with it. Last season, it seemed as if the Cubs had all three of those going for them, and they rode it all the way to a World Series game seven victory, in 10 damn innings nonetheless. None of that is there for this team right now. They sputtered passed the Nationals, and have been smacked down after any advances they have made against the Dodgers. Early leads in ALL THREE of these would be losses is the frustrating part of it all. You can choose your scapegoat, there are plenty of radio callers and twitter uprisings calling for the bullpen’s, or Joe Maddon’s, or *pick a slumping hitter’s* heads. Whatever helps you rationalize your frustration is your right as a fan, but don’t let that distract from the most important factor in this series: The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers are very good at baseball.
Here’s where I’m at today: we get to watch a Chicago Cubs baseball game. There are 26 fan bases out there wishing they could be down 3-0 in the League Championship Series, don’t let the ridicule from your local Whitesox or Cardinal fan tell you otherwise. It looks grim, I know, but this is baseball and crazy things happen in this stupid game all the time. There’s no better time for a four game win streak than right freaking now, but how about we start with a one game winning streak? Dear Jake Arrieta, I hear you want to make 16 Quazzy-jilion dollars a year on your upcoming free agent contract, that’s dope. Earn it today.
“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all” (Earl Weaver).