Drove My Chevy to Levy But The Levy Was Bry..ant- Cubs 6, Dodgers 4 (10 innings)

The Cubs opened their three-game series with the Los Angles Dodgers Friday night. Mike Montgomery, fresh off a solid 4-inning start against the Rockies on Saturday got a second turn in the rotation. The Dodgers countered with Bud Norris who shut down the Cubs earlier this year with Atlanta.

Chicago started the scoring in the 1st inning tonight at Chavez Ravine. Dexter Fowler singled and Anthony Rizzo walked putting two men on for the Cubs. Once again Addison Russell delivered a big hit, singling to score Kris Bryant who had reached on a force out: 1-0.

Mike Montgomery did not have the same stuff he displayed in Denver. The Cubs lefty was wild from the start of the game tonight. In the bottom of the 2nd, a walk and a hit by pitch led to a Chase Utley RBI ground out to tie the game. In the 3rd, a walk and a Corey Seager double led to a Justin Turner RBI groundout. Chase Utley doubled and scored on a Howie Kendrick double play to make it 3-1 in the 4th.

In the top of the 5th, the Cubs rallied with two walks and a Rizzo RBI single to make it 3-2. That man Utley made an amazing diving stop on Ben Zobrist to end the inning without any more damage getting done. CJ Edwards threw a clean 6th inning in relief of Mike Montgomery. In the 7th, Adrian Gonzalez blasted a Justin Grimm pitch deep to right center to make the score 4-2 LA.

Bud Norris was pulled for Pedro Baez after just 5 innings. Kris Bryant responded to Gonzalez with a high arching shot to dead center off Joe Blanton to make it 4-3 in the 8th. Jason Heyward doubled off of closer Kenley Jansen and scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball to tie the game at 4.

After Travis Wood pitched a scoreless bottom of the 9th the Bryant show continued. This time KB’s victim was lefty reliever Adam Liberatore. After a Fowler single, Kris pounded his second homer of the game to right center to make it 6-4. Aroldis Chapman closed out the bottom of the 10th for a Cubs win.


Source: FanGraphs

What Does It All Mean?

An interesting dilemma is gripping Cubs fans of late, these games are not that important. As Mr. Banghart has laid out in his recent recaps the Cubs are in very good shape to win the NL Central. Thus the result of an individual game in late August will have very little impact on the overall picture. Some Cubs fans still live and die with every game, but it’s hard to get as angry now after a tough loss. If you are one of those fans then do what you do. I can’t tell you how to be a fan. Personally I will not freak out with every win and loss. When the calendar turns to October, however I will be a total mess.

The Full Monty

Mike Montgomery battled control issues to go 5 bumpy innings Friday. It’s clear that Mike has the stuff to be a quality starter from the left side. To be a consistent starter the former Mariner will have to control his fastball, something that escaped him tonight. An interesting side note, Montgomery apparently was kicked off his high school basketball team for getting too many technical fouls. The legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully of course offered that fact along with many others. There are so many things about the Cubs I don’t know before Vin fills me in on them. This will be Scully’s last time announcing a Cubs series. If you can do yourself a favor and watch the Dodgers broadcast. Trust me, it’s worth your time and attention.

MVP

I’m running out of things to say about Kris Bryant this year. Remember all the sky-high expectations when he got called up last year? You can see them right now in the rear-view mirror about a mile back. The Cubs 3B/OF might already be the best player in the National League. By WAR he is the best player in the National League right now. I will be shocked if Bryant isn’t the MVP this season.

Random Reference

When the Dodgers were winning the game Chase Utley was looking like the star of the game. Mac McDonald from Always Sunny in Philadelphia really, really likes Chase. In fact, he wrote him a letter. At the rate Bryant is going I may write Kris a similar letter.

Three Stars

3. Dexter Fowler: 2-5, 1 R. Dex led off the game with a hit that led to the first run. His second hit in the tenth preceded Bryant’s blast.

2. Jason Heyward: 2-5, 2B, 1 R. His double set up the tying run. Could this finally be the start of the fabled Heyward hot streak?

1. Kris Bryant: 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB. The Bryant MVP race is starting to look like a landslide.

 

 

Comments

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  • So much for not being clutch.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Took the words out of my mouth.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    The Cubs would NOT be where they were at without Kris Bryant !!! But, if I may, he really hasn't seemed to be a clutch hitter yet. It's really hard for me not to give my vote, which of course doesn't count for squat, to Rizzo. With that being said, if Kris continues to do what he's done all year, and especially as of late, then you're right, the race might be over quickly. Go Cubs

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    Even if you're not all that sabermetricly inclined don't you have to at least look at WAR which shows Bryant 3 full wins ahead Rizzo, 7.3 vs 4.3? I just don't see it as close and I love Anthony Rizzo.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    If I were voting for the NL MVP, I honestly think it would be too tough to decide between Bryant and Rizzo. Therefore, I'd probably just make it easy on myself and vote for Murphy

  • Kris Bryant is good at baseball.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    "W"hat?

  • Really nice comeback win while a starter is down. Bryant is so dialed in right now!

  • It's good living in Las Vegas when there is a west coast game. It's better when I can stay up and watch all of the game even if it's extra innings. It BEST when they win no matter where they are playing. Tonight: good, better, best!

  • Waking up to a comeback win is glorious

  • With this win, we clinched a winning season... With 5 days to spare in August, no less. Done so with a very strong rotation of starting pitchers that is 5 deep. Too bad this particular advantage gets reduced in the playoffs.

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    In reply to ricco:

    But we get to pick the 4 we want rather than "Arrieta, Lester, and...Hendricks? Hammel. I hope the series is over by then," like we did last year.

    If we get the bullpen squared away (Rondon and Strop return to form) the Cubs will be a VERY tough team. Anything can happen in the playoffs but having a team that can score runs, prevent runs and a shut down bullpen gets our chances as high as they can possibly be.

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    No surprise that Bryant is my choice for MVP. But a game like this is one that MVP voters often like to look at when distinguishing between players. I think it is irrational and short-sighted, but it is an "easy" comparison because Bryant and Seager are on the same field. The reason I say "short sighted" and "irrational" is because there really isn't anything either of them can do to help/hurt one another besides maybe making an error.

    First off there is the boxscore difference: Bryant 2-4 BB 0K vs Seager 2-5 0BB, 2K.

    Then there is the "highlight film." Unquestionably dominated by Bryant.

    But a "come from behind win" against "NL West leading team" "On the road" with "2 HR against quality pitchers" really does mean something to many MVP voters. The three big MVP candidates (Bryant, Seager and Murphy) all play in "big markets" so none has an advantage in that. I wish Arenado got the attention he deserves for his play as he is also very good at baseball.

    It will be an exciting race but a game like tonight will sway a lot of voters. It kind of reminds me of Arrieta's no-hitter against the Dodgers last year about this time. Similarly I think that swayed a lot of Cy Young voters.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Remember the 85 Bears and the "Viking game" where McMahon came off the bench in the 3rd quarter and threw 2 long bomb TDs on his first 2 passes to spark the win? this game had that same feel.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    I didn't follow football that closely then. But living in North Dakota most of my friends were "Vikings" or "Packers" fans. As such they recall that game not as "the Viking game" but something with stronger language attached. LOL

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Arenado has a road OPS of .787 which would rank 45th among all NL hitters, just below former Cub Angel Pagan's total OPS. So, no. Not even in the same sentence with Bryant, Seager, and that former Met who we won't talk about from last fall. There have been legit Rockies hitters, like Todd Helton with a career road OPS of .855 (better than Bryce Harper's 2016 season), and I know Arenado is popular nationally, but if you separate out the thin air stats he is not comparable.

  • I only made it up through the 8th and missed all the fun but I've caught up with the highlights this morning. Bryant is on fire right now and arguments against his bid for MVP are falling away, and oh by the way, he now leads MLB in fWAR at 7.3 ahead of even Mike Trout. The closest NL player is Corey Seager .5 of a game back at 6.8. Even his counting stats alone make for a very strong case with 35 HR and a slash of .303/.395/.587 . You really have to love this kid.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Same thing happened to me. After the 7th inning I fell asleep fully expecting to see the Cubs lost when I woke up. After reading this I'm going to have to watch the rest of the game now

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    In reply to Bamacub:

    I wish I taped it.

  • What a game! Cubs are badass. This kind of comeback, on the road, against a top team in the league, is what the baddest of the badass teams do. In no particular order:

    1. Yeah, no individual game is huge when you have a 14 game lead, BUT . . . this the first of game of several in a row against PO caliber teams and a division leader and its the friggin Dodgers. So for me that's fun and exciting. In fact, it seemed like a PO game. Huge fun.

    2. I am so happy for J-Hey. He came through big time and single-handedly tied the game. Huge moment.

    3. I am so happy we got Chapman. Can you imagine where we'd be without him, while Strop and Rondon are out. And beside that, it is very comforting to have the best closer in the game come in when you grab an extra inning lead on the road. Huge pick up.

    4. I am so happy to see so many Cub fans at every road game. I don't recall ever seeing so many Cub fans at a Dodgers game. Cub Nation is fired up.

    5. I've been thinking lately that last year's playoff experience is gonna be huge for us this time around. Especially for KB who struggled last postseason.

    6. Did I say I'm so happy?

  • In reply to TTP:

    7. Grimm! Has anyone mentioned him yet? He was huge last night and has been nails of late. Huge!

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    In reply to TTP:

    The Cubs haven't been badass since we lost Wada. He said so himself. "I am badass." Though I am not sure he knew what it meant. You could hear the Cubs snickering behind him. I think led by David Ross.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Huh?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Oh, wait, I get it. But, no, we are still plenty badass. Rizzo is the most badass player in the MLB hovering over the plate with no armor. That's badass. Winning as they did last night: Badass.

    No longer the Lovable Cubs. They're the Badass Cubs!

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    In reply to TTP:

    Sans Wada, but yes.

  • This was a well played game by the Cubs with lots of guys who contributed. I'm pulling for Bryant to win mvp, but it's an individual award and I want a World Series more. Both would be good.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed, both would be the ideal ending.

  • It might have been the fact that it was 1:30 in the morning on the East Coast but I swear I heard Bob Costas say "Do you believe it?!" as Bryant"s second home run sailed over the wall…

  • Bryant's last four years:
    -2013 College player of the year
    -2014 minor league player of the year
    -2015 national league rookie of the year
    -2016 national league mvp??

    Sure doesn't take him long to dominate a new level.

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    2014 AFL MVP

  • I have been saying this for 2 weeks. When will Bryant start getting the bonds treatment? You can't pitch to him. Make rizzo or zobrist beat you.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Remember, Schwarber comes back next year too. Who do you pick around?

    I have been waiting over 50 years for a team like this, and now I'm enjoying every win, home run, defensive gem, and comeback.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I don't know, that could get you beat. Rizzo is streaky but when he's locked in he'll make you pay for that.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Then you adjust to that. But right now Bryant is carrying us and on super fire. A 2 run homer beat the Dodgers. Til rizzo or zobrist start beating teams. Then I'd walk Bryant.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    You're talking about 2 excellent players here with Bryant at .297/.396/.557 and Bryant at .303/.395/.587. You give the intentional pass to Bryant and you go from the frying pan into the fire. That said if a pitcher has a particularly good record against Rizzo as opposed to a poor one against Bryant then you would do that. This team makes it hard on pitchers to get out of trouble.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Theo and Jed talked about "lengthening" the line-up and I think your post was roughly what they had in mind. You don't have a "get through the 2-5 guys and then coast for an inning or two" with these guys.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Bonds treatment, not yet. Barry Bonds juiced or not juiced was just a ridiculous unstoppable force. Bryant is great, but you can't put him in the same sentence w Bonds, yet.

    Barry Bonds is a guy who would get walked w the bases loaded.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Unless the team was up by only a run or a tie game it was a legitimate strategy. He was an animal. For all the talk about steroids when it comes to Bonds he was an outstanding player his entire career. Even before anyone thinks he used steroids.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I agree.. ....it was Bob Brenly who called for it. I am just not sure if we are going to see anyone give Bryant the intentional walk w the bags loaded, yet.......

    Bonds is still the greatest player I have ever seen in my life. What big papi is doing this yr at the plate is about an avg season during bonds epic peak. Playing most his years in a horrible horrible offensive ball park.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    What I think gets missed is that, especially as a young player, he was an exciting and very good defensive player. As he aged he lost a step (or three) and he never had a good arm but he was a very talented player.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I am not saying he is as good or will be as good as bonds. I am referring to how pitchers walked him a lot. I would make rizzo or zobrist beat us. Bryant is the frying pan

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    KB has been like a runaway train lately--remember when he and Rizzo were neck and neck in the MVP race. Riz isn't in the conversation now and he's having a heck of a year.
    The only race I'm looking at now is with Wash for home field. We're up now and it's looking more and more like we'll face them in the playoffs, but I don't want to get to far ahead. Day by day is best.
    How could I listen to the Dodger broadcasts Sean? I know Vin is doing the Sunday game and sometimes I get the west coast games on the MLB network. thanks.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Until a couple weeks ago I would have been somewhat inclined to give the MVP to Rizzo. But Bryant has been on a tear that I can't believe.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Somebody needs to tell that to Bruce Levine who still thinks it's Rizzo in the lead.

  • What an awesome win last night. 17 M V P! Looking forward to Hammer and a bounce back QS tonight. Let's drop that Magic down to 21 as we play before the Birds do.

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    In reply to Third Generation:

    Despite giving up a run Grimm kind of took it on the chin for the Cubs last night. Everyone else was relatively efficient and should be available for today.

    Looking forward to 9/1 when we get Lackey and Rondon back. And apparently Strop is progressing nicely per ESPN. Get those three back and suddenly our pitching looks a lot better.

    Part of me says, "Just tread water until then" but I have been saying that to myself for a couple weeks now. If this is the team "treading water" I don't think they have any trouble in the playoffs. But that is a long way off.

    Honestly this is starting to feel like last August. Up until then we were a good team and just kind of picking away. Then in August we make our run.

    If Joe can manage to keep everyone rested this will be really fun to watch. Everyone else is playing relatively high stress games. The Cubs lead their division by 14 and the league by 7.5 (8 in the loss column) and that is against a team we have a winning record against this season. While the Nationals are also up 8 games in their division they are only up 4 games on the Dodgers. The Cubs can rest whoever they want whenever they want, I think. If Rizzo needs a day off they can just shuffle guys around. Even Bryant could take a day off here or there. Though there is no reason to do that when he is this hot. But if he gets into a 1-12 slump I wouldn't mind seeing him take a day off and put Baez at 3B.

    My favorite thing about this team is that they can give 3-4 "starters" the day off and STILL have plenty of offense and, occasionally, better defense.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Hope they don't need Chapman today. Joe are you listening?

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    Tony Massarotti should be fired for irresponsible journalism. Bryant is amazing.

  • Eli , the little boy who teared up after receiving a Kris Bryant baseball card last month, might ought to give that card to his Mom for safekeeping. It's getting more valuable by the game!

    And, from that same Cubs Den article, the NY writer who hypothesized that Kris Bryant is not an elite player can go suck eggs.

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    Remember when many people thought Bryant's ceiling was a .270 hitter? It's amazing how he's made adjustments. He's a true student of the game.

  • Bryzzo is a good cop/bad cop throughout the season, Bryant is hot now and Cubs are riding that horse like the four horseman of Ben Hur, early in the season it was Fowler, then Zobrist, then Rizzo and now Bryant. It is how a team becomes dominant and a champion.

    Interesting article in Fangraghs about Arrieta and his slider, while his FB remains one of the best pitches in MLB, once Jake tweeks his arm slot he will return like Baumgardner for the playoffs.

  • Somebody call Mark Grace and tell him he won't be getting his number retired.....

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    When Bryant retires they can retire it 2x. Like #31.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I bought a Brandon Hyde game worn jersey a couple of years ago thinking the best case scenario was that it would be a nice Mark Grace throwback.

    Little did I know...

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