Grand Larceny--Cubs 2 Nationals 1

The Cubs and Nationals have played three incredible baseball games. There are a few themes that have developed in these heart-stopping affairs. The starting pitching has been as good as advertised and more. The games have been incredibly tight with remarkable plays made by each side. One thing that changed was the amount of mistakes each team made. The first two games each featured one side capitalizing on a single important mistake. Today's afternoon affair was riddled with mistakes, and in the end the Cubs stole another game to inch closer to another trip to the NLCS.

Jose Quintana's first playoff start and Max Scherzer's achy hamstring were the early storylines. Neither pitcher seemed affected as they pitched a perfect 1-2-3 first inning. Quintana gave up a two out single to Jayson Werth, but easily escaped the blemish with a strike out of Matt Wieters. Max Scherzer retired the first nine he faced. Quintana ran into trouble in the third inning with Michael A Taylor taking on the role of light hitting outfielder playing out of his mind in the postseason against the Cubs. Taylor singled to start the inning, and reached second as Quintana attempted a pickoff as Anthony Rizzo was crashing in on the bunt play from Scherzer. The throw allowed Taylor to reach second with no outs. Scherzer struck out, and Trea Turner continued his horrendous postseason with a foul out. Bryce Harper hit an easy ground ball that should have ended the inning, but it clanked off of Ben Zobrist's glove to extend the frame. Anthony Rendon put a charge into the ball, but Jason Heyward tracked it down to keep the game level at nothing.

Scherzer hit Jon Jay to start out the bottom of the fourth inning. Kris Bryant drove the ball to fairly deep left but it was easily caught by Werth. Rizzo hit into what should have been an inning ending double play, but the throw was out of the reach of Ryan Zimmerman. Rizzo hustled into second with two outs. Willson Contreras coaxed the two out walk, but Ben Zobrist pounced on the first pitch hit into a weak ground out to end the threat. Quintana got stronger as the game went on. The top of the fourth ended with a great running grab by Jon Jay, but Q struck out the side in the fifth inning. He was working his way to finish another easy inning in the sixth inning when disaster struck. Bryce Harper struck out to start the inning, and Rendon hit into an easy ground out to Bryant. Daniel Murphy hit a soft flyball into left field that should have kept Quintana's afternoon going. Instead the ball hit off Kyle Schwarber's glove who played like the largest adult son in turning an inning ending out into a triple. Joe Maddon went to Pedro Strop, and was rewarded with the by the book move with a Ryan Zimmerman double to score the game's first run. Werth flew out to end the inning, but it appeared like the Nationals had more than enough with the way Scherzer was throwing.

Scherzer carried a no hitter into the seventh inning. Scherzer struck out Contreras to start the inning, but Zobrist hit the unlikelist of doubles to end Scherzer's day. Kyle Schwarber was due up next so Dusty Baker went to his lefty Sammy Solis. Maddon countered with Albert Almora who hit a solid single to tie the game. Jason Heyward hit a floater into left to give the Cubs a threat to take the lead. Brandon Kintzler was the next Nats hurler, and Addison Russell nearly made Baker pay with a hard hit drive into center field. Michael Taylor tracked the ball down. Jason Heyward and Albert Almora both took off trying to score on the play, and the end result was Heyward being thrown out at first for an unconventional inning ending double play.

CarL Edwards Jr. pitched a clean eighth inning. Tommy La Stella was called onto pinch hit against Kintzler. La Stella drew a walk, and was promptly removed for Leonys Martin. Jon Jay dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Martin into scoring position. Kintzler struck out Bryant. Baker made another move to bring in the veteran lefty reliever Oliver Perez. Anthony Rizzo golfed a ball into shallow left field. The ball some how dropped in between Taylor, Werth and Trea Turner. Martin scored easily but Rizzo was caught in between first and second. He was tagged out to end the inning.

Wade Davis pitched a clean ninth inning to bury the Nationals hope today. The Nationals are against the wall here with the worst pitching matchup for them on paper looming. It isn't over, but the Cubs have to feel pretty good about where they are at this point.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Q Starting
The Cubs starting pitchers have outpitched the Nationals in this series. Quintana was the source of some fear with his lack of postseason experience. Quintana pitched a solid game and remained the even keel pitcher White Sox fan are familar with. If the Cubs remain in the postseason, there is little doubt that Quintana can be counted on to take the ball in important spots.

Zobrist Rising
I have been very critical about the usage of Ben Zobrist. His bat has looked slow throughout the series. His glove has looked equally bad, and that trend continued throughout the game. And then in the seventh inning, he had the second or third hardest hit ball by any Cub against the reigning Cy Young winner. His double was the key hit in the game. He then made a sparkling defensive play to the end the eighth inning. That inning has guaranteed that Zobrist will continue to play throughout the postseason.

Maddon Managing
Joe Maddon has drawn a lot of ire for his in-game decisions. Many wanted to pin the blame for the loss on Saturday for his bullpen selections. Many were equally critical of the fact that Kyle Schwarber was still in the game in the sixth inning. Schwarber walked to start the fifth inning, and so it is possible that a pinch runner could have been used. That pinch runner would have likely made the play in the field that opened the flood gates. I didn't have an issue with it at the time. Schwarber had the best at bats against Max Scherzer and the low probability of the bottom order delivering in that spot didn't make a lot of sense. Some were even more critical about this series move when Schwarber was removed prior to his very next at bat. However, by leaving Schwarber in the game that got the incredibly favorable matchup of Solis against Almora. Maddon made the right move to play for one run in the eighth inning. What I could not believe is that Maddon insisted on moving Zobrist into the outfield while over two better defensive outfielders in Leonys Martin and Jon Jay already in the game. It didn't cost them, but it is hard to fathom the reason for that one.

Random Reference

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  • Go Cubs!

    I get that Joe wants Zobrist in there, and I’m okay with that. But bench Schwarber and play Jay in CF. Baez and Russell up the middle every single out.

    Dusty Baker: discuss...

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Baez and Russell every single out. End of my discussion. Ya'll can debate the rest. Defense dictated the game today,and we won.

    Go Cubs!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I would add, for defensive locks, Heyward, Almora, Bryant, Rizzo and Contreras. The only position I think is up for debate is LF. I know they love Schwarber, but is his bat better than Happ's defense in left? Is Schwarber on offense and defense better than Happ on offense and defense?

  • In reply to Glen Krisch:

    No. Simply no.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Glen Krisch:

    He's a more feared and respected hitter. Thats about all I can say

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    As a LH hitter Happ is virtually Schwarbers equal, his power #s as a lefty are close to Fast Hulks. If we make it to the WS, Schwarber definitely needs to DH with either Happ or Jay starting.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    I fully anticipate that Schwarber will be the DH. If he is red-hot as a hitter he might start at Wrigley, but in the AL parks I am sure he will DH.

  • In reply to Glen Krisch:

    Yes.

  • Q!!!!!!!!!

    That's all I got tonight.

  • Zobrist has been a little off his square this year and struggled the first two games, but Maddon knows his history of quality when it matters most. He will be a key cog in our post season success going forward. He's a veteran leader and it was positive that Ben was able get his mojo back on both sides of the ball today. Cubs will need all hands on deck do bring home another trophy.

  • fb_avatar

    It’s ironic that Dusty, whose reputation is to have his pitchers go too long pulls Scherzz before he wants to come out. I’m sure the Cubs wanted him out.
    We still see power pitchers differently than others. All Wash starters have thrown 95+, ours maybe hit 93 once or twice but we matched them and beat them. Q and Hendrcks and Lester all pitch with change of speeds and location and have let up nothing.
    I hope we have Javy back at 2nd tomorrow.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The funny thing was that I was worried with that move. Scherzer had lost his fastball completely and was trying to get away guile and his changeup. It had worked pretty well, clearly, but I felt we were going to get to him and I wasn't sure we wanted to see a fresh arm.

  • It's amazing that people keep doubting Zo..He won the friggin world series dammit. He is nails in crunch time. Wake up people. Just keeps on doing it when it counts.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Wasn't that nearly a year ago. He's another year closer to retirement a made an error early in yesterdays game. he can take a seat next to Heyward today and for the remainder of the post season.

  • In reply to willycat:

    Willycat........It is clear that your overriding favorite metric is visual offense. Zobrist and Heyward are below average, but not terrible. Heyward's defense is more valuable than you seem to credit. Zobrist's leadership and ability to slow things down in the biggest pressure situations set him apart. I can look at my glass being half empty and tell you why Mike Trout, or any player, is not valuable. I choose to have my cup more than half full and to look for the positives. IMO, you are way too critical once you pounce on a player, coach or manager for doing something, anything you disagree with.......and always in hindsight.

  • Oh yes, yes. Ha ha ha. Washington feels some of that pressure we have felt for decades. I'll even go as far as saying they don't belong:

    "And the sign says you got to have a membership card to get inside."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    That is one of my all time favorite songs. I am most familiar with the Tesla version but that line, partly because it doesn't really fit the meter of the song, is AWESOME. And if you are saying that the Nationals are a little overmatched it is perfect.

    "The sign says you gotta have a membership card to get inside."

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The Tesla version? .....really, Joel?

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    In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Yes. I am a child of he 80's and early 90's. Therefore my first introduction to the song was by Tesla.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Just messin' with ya. Actually saw Tesla in Joliet about 5 yrs ago.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Five Man Electrical Band all the way. Sorry, Joel.

    I'm not a big Tesla fan. They are a talented band, just not my cup of Cuervo. I am not impressed, specifically, with their gratuitous insertions of the f-word in that cover. Trust me, I'm not a prude and have heard and seen everything, but that was immature and unnecessary.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I assumed you meant the original version which is why I specified that I am most familiar with the Tesla version.

    Either way, the insertion of the line was brilliant. One of your best references ever IMO.

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    In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    LOL. I thought you guys were talking about the car! I was like what does an electronic car have to do w baseball?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    It's a car named after a Five Man ELECTRICAL band. Tesla had to do a cover or the whole conspiracy would fall apart.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    And I thought they were saying that the inventor performed that song and I was like "wow, that came out in the 1800s?". Seriously, one of the most energetic performances I ever saw was Tesla when they opened for Def Leppard in '87.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Not quite what I was saying. Nicola Tesla was actually the 3rd guy in the group. One of his unheralded inventions was a time traveling device. Called a flux...flux...anyway, doesn't matter.

    Someone told him in the mid-80's that you needed a cool car to put the time travel device in so he made a car that is electric. Then things got weird. It's all right there. Just read the "Signs." Don't forget, when you get there, "The sign says you've gotta have a membership card to get inside."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    HUH!

  • The Cubs get to knock out the superior Nats tomorrow, Those Nats that had a better regular-season record, and a better lineup, and vastly superior starting pitching. We beat Scherzer and Strasburg at their best. We are better.

    Of course we could lose the next two, but we won't. Watch what Jake does tomorrow.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Better lineup is arguable. Cubs had the better offense in 2017

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kramerica20:

    The Nats also played in a division with no other teams above .500.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I saw an article on a MLB site that questioned how the Nats could be behind in the series when they had the "bigger stars". I wondered if the writer was accidentally comparing the Nats roster to the Cubs 2013 roster.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lildude:

    Because the games take place on a baseball field and not a red carpet. THAT is how the Cubs are leading.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Today's game scores, Scherzer 74, Q 72. "Vastly superior starting pitching"???

  • In reply to wthomson:

    That was a popular narrative. We couldn't win against Strasburg and Scherzer, especially with "only" Hendricks and Lester. Watch Jake tomorrow.

    I guess I'm also making fun of the naysayers. I can only imagine this board if we had lost. It is a shame that it is so quiet. Cubs fans should celebrate a win more than bitch about a loss.

    Washington's elimination day tomorrow. Jake will make sure of that. Go Cubs!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Many Cubs fans ARE celebrating a win rather than commenting on an internet blog.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It is not a popular narrative. It is who the odds makers have made the favorites based on the match ups.

    Vegas has the Cubs as the favorites to win today.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Filtered. I'll try again...

    That was the popular narrative. We had no chance. Strasburg and Scherzer vs. Hendricks and Lester? Good luck, Cubs. We're done before we got there.

    I'm also poking fun at the naysayers here. It is awfully quiet here on the nights when we win. We should all be celebrating like, well, I am. But I guess second-guessing a loss is more fun for some folks than celebrating a win. Not for me.

    Watch Jake end the Nationals season tomorrow. It will be glorious, and I will be happy.

    Go Cubs!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Who said we had no chance? Were we the underdogs ? Yes, mainly due to home field but I am pretty sure we prob would have been underdogs on a neutral field as well, but once Mad Max was hurt, it tilted things to our favor.

    I know Gio is having a great season but the drop off from the Nats top 2 starters to 3&4 his substantial whereas the Cubs drop off from 1&2 is not nearly as significant.

    Mad Max pitching like that yesterday afternoon but for more then 6+ in 2 games out of 5 ( vs seeing him only once and maybe in the pen if we get to a 5) vs just once can not be ignored or overlooked.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Every single show on MLB Radio had the Nats sweeping the Cubs. Every. Single. One. They underestimated the depth and they paid to much attention to the fist half and not enough to the second.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Barley, I agree with you that the national media seemed to write the Cubs obituary before this series. The thing they forgot about was that they were writing about baseball and in a 5 game series, anything can happen. This is why just getting to the playoffs like the Cubs have the past 3 years is better than the path they were on before which seemed like a once every 5 years pattern. Anything can happen and usually does.

  • Albert Almora has been lauded for his stellar defense for years. This year he’s shown us he can hit and today delivered at the key moment. I know Jay brings valuable experience and I like him but I sure hope Albert gets more playing time as the postseason continues—Contreras, Baez, Russell and Almora up the middle is practically airtight. And then just give him the full-time job in 2018!

  • In reply to heelclick:

    I hope Albert gets full-time CF next year too. But in the meantime, what a L-R pinch-hit combo he and LaStella make up. And Jay too when he's not starting.
    2017 pinch-hit #'s-
    AA- .341, 10 rbi
    TLS- .290, 7 rbi
    JJ- .325, 8 rbi

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Don't forget the BB. TLS had an amazing year pinch-hitting.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I suspect La Stella is not on next year's roster - as he's out of options and defensively still fairly limited - but if he's not on the Cubs - some other team in the league is going to find themselves with a dandy contact-hitting, at bat grinding 2B guy.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    While it's too early to look at next year, I think TLS may still be on the roster. He will be arbitration cheap while still under control. No options just means there will need to be another person on the roster able to swing between Iowa and Chicago when pitchers are needed. As with all teams, it's the relief staff that will need to be replenished and changed. That's going to be the swing area next year, IMO. Just adding Maples, and his options, instead of Uehara gives the roster flexibility to move guys up and down. It's possible that Grimm and Rondon could be gone, so that opens up 2 spots if Butler doesn't secure a 25-man roster spot. That's why these front office folks are always working. They cannot stop trying to improve and mix and match for maximum talent and roster flexibility.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    It is possible that he isn't on the roster, though I expect that would be due more to a trade than a "non-tender." He is arb eligible but generally a "PH" guy is not going to make a ton of money in arbitration. And he is a very good hitter. His fWAR was 0.8 in 151 PAs. Think about that for a moment. That is a guy who gives TREMENDOUS value. I think if he can even give the team 0.4 fWAR he would be worth the $1-2M he will likely get in arbitration.

    And he is able to play a middle-infield position so his lack of eye-popping power doesn't really come into play. He is not a good--or even particularly decent--fielder but I don't see him logging a ton of innings in the field.

    Finally, the Cubs defensive flexibility gives them the ability to keep a hitter of TLS ability on the bench. The fact that Bryant, Zobrist and Happ can all play IF and OF (along with Contreras in a pinch) means they have sufficient back-ups to allow them to employ a guy with one particular skill in spades. On most rosters that spot would go to the Fujikawas, Freemans or J. Herrerras of the world who can be back-up SS. Because of the ability of the guys I listed above and Baez ability to play VERY good SS when he isn't playing 2B means that spot on the roster can go to someone like Tommy La Stella. A guy who hits LH and is able to "roll out of bed at 3 AM and hit the ball." The fact that he can even pretend to play 2B/3B makes him all the more valuable. Again, I am not saying he should log triple digit innings in the field (unless he is REALLY hot for an extended stretch allowing his bat to make up for his glove).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Agreed. The role that TLS plays on this team is virtually unreplaceable. I don't know of anyone who isn't a regular starter already, who can come off the bench and pinch hit like he can. He's been a huge team player this year, accepting demotions to Iowa when he probably didn't deserve them. And he's very affordable. He'll be doing the same thing for the Cubs next year, unless he insists on being a starter. To me, that is the only thing that would prevent him from coming back.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Anyone in the league who isn't a regular player....

  • In reply to HefCA:

    TLS is a bench player on a contender and a platoon starter on a second division team. I can't imagine he wouldn't want to stay. I love that contact hitting off the bench. I've always been a fan and was bummed midseason when it looked like he might not have a spot. He's a valuable piece.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HefCA:

    Pinch hitting is a skill. Not everyone can do it. Kind of like relief pitching is a skill that not everyone has. Just because someone can behave as a "starter" doesn't mean they are able to come in to a game cold and perform.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Ja, for all the flack Joe gets, he made an interesting point when he stated he likes contact guys for pinch-hitting. Put the ball in play, see what happens, especially with guys on base.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    In a one-run game and the weather dictating HRs are not likely, you need someone who just gets on base. TLS and Jay both have been really good at that this year. I wouldnt mind the Cubs bringing back Jay next year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Those are pretty amazing numbers considering pinch hitters are usually brought in against tough bullpen arms. To get the full picture on TLS's pinch hitting year, you have to add in his walks. His pinch hitting obp was close to .500 for the year.

  • fb_avatar

    Albert A in CF for at least 120 games. Javy at 2nd--well, I would really like him to start at SS and Russell at 2nd. I think Addy's shoulder is hurting him and even in the best of health you can see that Addy's throws have an arc to them. Javy's are a beam that is a straight as can be. These guys are experienced and barely in their twenties.
    Win tomorrow. Go Cubs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    No question Javy has the better arm. But I think Russell's throws have always had a little arc to them. But Russell gets himself in to a good throwing position consistently and quickly. His first step is, I think, a little faster and better than Javy's. And his transfer from glove to hand are also as good or better. In short, he saves time before the throw allowing a long throw extra time and compensating for the shorter speed.

    Don't misinterpret my comments. Javy is very good at all these things too. But Addi is a little better, IMO. And I LOVE that strong arm at 2B on a DP turning a "close play" into a "got him by a step."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I was thinking the same thing since thats pretty much been the narrative all season on this blog, but after seeing Russell dive and pop up so quickly and get the runner, I am convinced he's fine as SS. ( not saying Javy couldn't make the play but I prefer the guy who makes less errors at the position w the most action) plus he can get to almost all the balls Javy does anyway.

  • I really don't get why Zo was kept in lf in the 9th.

    I'm glad he showed me wrong, but I really don't get him being out there.

  • I'm glad that zobrist showed me wrong but I still don't understand why Joe kept him out there in the ninth.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I think he kept him in if the game went to extra innings. The switch-hitting is a factor in that

  • And then there were 6....

    Here are the current WS Win Odds from 538.com after
    games of 10/9/17:

    538 Rating / Win World Series
    *at completion of day’s games

    Pre WC Games….………10/6 *…………..……10/7 *…………….
    CLV 1604 / 27%…….CLV 1607 / 34%……CLV 1607 / 33%……
    LAD 1564 / 18%…….LAD 1566 / 19%……LAD 1569 / 23%……
    HOU 1569 / 15%…….HOU 1576 / 22%……HOU 1576 / 22%……
    WAS 1551 / 11%…….WAS 1547 / 6%……..WAS 1550 / 8%……..
    CHN 1559 / 10%…….CHN 1563 / 13%……CHN 1560 / 9%…….
    BOS 1553 / 7%………BOS 1546 / 1%……..BOS 1546 / 1%………
    NYY 1561 / 6%………NYY 1560 / 2%…….NYY 1560 / 2%……..
    AZD 1539 / 3%………AZD 1540 / 3%…….AZD 1537 / 1%……..

    ………..10/9 *……….
    CLV 1602 / 23%……
    LAD 1571 / 27%……
    HOU 1572 / 24%……
    WAS 1548 / 4%……..
    CHN 1562 / 14%…….
    NYY 1566 / 7%……..

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Thank you, Mr. Thomson. Very Magic Number Countdown-like. ;^)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Agreed. I think wthomson has found his niche.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    He can do the countdown to 100% chance to win the world series

  • What is with Theo and Jed multi-tasking during the playoffs? Don't these guys ever stop working?

    Last year, they claimed right-handed reliever Conor Mullee off waivers shortly before the start of game 7 of the freaking world series. Today they made a trade sending Felix Pena to the Angels for cash or a player to be named later.

    Sheesh. Enjoy the game, guys. You've earned it!

    Interesting to note: the Cubs won both games on those days. So maybe they should make another move tomorrow...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    If they got Trout for Pena, they can watch the game reruns later!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cliff1969:

    A hard throwing bullpen guy? I would think Trout was just the beginning. Angels probably just didn't want to make the announcement during the post-season and the "details" will come out later.

    Don't be surprised by a second deal, though, that also sends Bryant and Rizzo to the Angels, inexplicably, for a "flyer" on a low minor leaguer. You know, to even things up. LOL

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Quedub:

    LOL, maybe its a good Omen. I don't know about you but if I was getting paid 10% of what these guys are and being around the team I love more then any other, I would be eating, sleeping, drinking, thinking everything related to Cubs Baseball.

    All I know is we have a full safe jinx that has been paying off all season for us here at the Den, can't wait for it today.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Hey Quedub! Where you been? Good to see a comment from you. Where's Mike Moody and Hoosier?

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Thanks, TTP! Good to be seen!

    I've been lurking. To be completely honest, having met John a couple of times at spring training and conversing via email, his passing hit me like a ton of bricks. Coming here was difficult after that. It still hits me hard.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Can they sign Ohtani this early? That would be a sweet move. :-)

  • In reply to John57:

    Otani has to be posted by his Japanese club first. He wants to come here, but his club has a right not to post him until hes 25. BTW Otani is quite a hitter from what Ive read also. Shades of Carlos Zambrano.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    he is japan's giancarlo stanton

  • I know it has absolutely nothing to do with tonight's game, but the home team is thus far 13-3 in this year's playoffs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Yes, but what are the other team's records if they are being No-Hit into the 6th inning?

  • The weather isn't looking good. Not sure they can get the game in today which would mean Strasburg tomorrow. Yikes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    plus the possibility of Mad Max out of the pen in game 5 !

    Double OUCH OUCH

    We need to get this game in today while we have the momentum.

  • Great win.Please trade schwarber this offseason.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Bite your tongue! It's too soon to give up on Schwarber. It was pretty cool how bad the team wanted this one in order to take Kyle off the hook. This group really are good teammates.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yes indeed.I love this group of cubs players they genuinely seem to care for each other.That being said schwarber still has to go

    and I couldn't be any happier to be wrong about quintana.

  • In reply to bolla:

    And next year, you're gonna say you couldn't be happier to be wrong about Schwarber. Wait . . . . you might even say that TONIGHT.

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    In reply to bolla:

    To your credit you voiced concerns about Q from the beginning...and have the integrity to admit you were mistaken about him.

    Truthfully, no one knew/knows whether the deal will turn out to be worth it. But we can certainly say he hasn't been bad. In short, he "Tried not to suck."

  • In reply to 44slug:

    You would not be giving up on Schwarber but you need to trade value to get value. Cubs need a young cost controlled starter and Schwarber would be the best trade bait.

  • Dabynsky: Maddon knows he will not win the WS without a good Zobrist. He is playing the confidence game.

    He has a strong enough team around Zobrist where he can play the experience veteran and then have an even stronger bench. Cubs will be facing the LAD's they have three left handed starters, Maddon needs RH batters so he needs Zobrist for the next series.

    Now as to the starting pitching. Cubs have matched National's vaunted and highly publicized inning for inning, pitch for pitch. Without the error Nat's would not score on Quintana. They now face a healthy Arrieta where if the rains hold Nat's are down to a journeyman starter with a bullpen that is suspect.

    Play ball!

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    You can win the WS with Zobrist on the bench

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Let's not look past Washington to LA already. This thing ain't over yet.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Agreed. I think this Nationals team has the best balance of pitching and hitting that we can face during the playoffs. The main difference in this series so far is that the Cubs are taking advantage of the Nationals mistakes more than the other way around. Otherwise all three games could have gone the opposite direction.

    However, let's not downplay our chances either. I'm tired of hearing the media talking about the Cubs like they are an afterthought this year. Even with their slow start they did have on hell of second half. Until someone knocks us out, we're still World Champs.

  • Yep,... Our Cubs are always going to be the 2016 Champs,... even if they drop the next two games that doesn't change. :D

    I moved to the DC area in 2004. The Nationals moved to DC in 2005. The Expos team that moved here stunk,... I got to follow their own long-term gutting and rebuild 2005 - 2011. They made some solid draft choices (including Ryan Zimmerman) early on, and spent a lot of time and effort to get a good stadium, a solid minor league system, and build through good draft choices (including Strasburg and Harper in 2009 & 2010).

    I a lot of ways - they did a lot of the things right that Theo did when the Cubs brought him on - and they built a solid team. They're built in a lot of the same way as the Cubs, but are a couple years further along into their competitive window, and they're a lot closer to that window starting to close.

    Don't discount them. Ever.

  • I'd be surprised if todays game isn't rained out or delayed a few hours.A lot of rain heading towards chicago it's a big green/yellow cluster on the radar.

  • 1. Wow! What a game! What a series!

    2. The day before the POs started I said this is gonna be a great series. And that's turned out to be an understatement. Every game close, seemly every AB, every pitch nerve wracking. The highs. The lows. So intense. So emotional. Gosh darn it, this is what we live for! Love it!

    3. Tom Boswell in WaPo got it right. He says the final score was in fact 2-1, but measured as follows: "Decisions that blew up on Dusty Baker (2) over decisions that blew up on Joe Maddon (1)."

    4. It is, of course, one of the enduring beauties of baseball, second-guessing the manager. And the debates can never be truly settled because we never know what would have happened if different decision had been made. If Q had stayed in at 96 pitches, Zimmerman might have hit a 2-run homer and Cubs go down 2-0, or got a hit or walk and then the next guy hits a 2-run homer to make it 3-0. And even when things don’t turn out it doesn’t necessarily mean the manager made the wrong decision. Sometimes players simply fail to execute: Kintzler floating that changeup to Almora yesterday, Montgomery doing the exact same thing on Saturday and Edwards hanging that curve to Harper.

    5. As for our Cubs, the only thing I can really say is these guys are special like nobody's business.

    6. Now, please, please, please Mother Nature, let them get this one in today.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I'm the last person to ever defend Dusty Baker on anything but I would have pulled Scherzer too. Sure he had just given up one hit but his fastball had been gone for at least an inning and he was getting by on guile and his changeup. Plus he kept punching at his hammy as if trying to avoid it cramping up. I was actually bummed when he was pulled because I thought we were going to explode on him offensively and didn't want to see a fresh arm.

    The bottom line to me is these are two absolute evenly matched teams. On paper the Nats pitching should be better and dominant, and it is in some ways, but Cubs pitching is effective and that works sometimes too. This has been a great series but I really hope we can get the game in and wrap it up today. I don't really need to see another great outing from Strasburg.

  • In reply to TTP:

    So I guess Joe did not know Edwards limitations yesterday??? Really.
    Again this proves that the average fan does not know that much about the game, just mostly 2nd guessing as usual.

  • I don't remember ever feeling as bad for a player as I felt for Schwarber after that Benny Hill skit he performed on that flyball yesterday. He's worked hard to make himself a "decent" LF since the Mets NLCS bellyflops of a couple years ago. And now this play, also in the postseason with the world watching, has forever sealed his fate as a defensive butcher.

    He embarrassed himself out there yesterday and you know that has to hurt. He is a confident but not cocky kid who has had a tough year, and you could tell his teammates really had his back. A lot of fans are ready to end this LF experiment but I'm not there yet. His trade value is down. I think there's a real chance he could hit . 260/.360 OBP with 40 HRs next year and a lot of strikouts. He'll always have to come out in the late innings. What I'm saying is I'd rather give him one more year than trade low.

  • Taking a flyer at tonights lineup against the Righty. Think maybe Joe goes lefty lineup again, but instead of sitting Javy, he might sit Addy. That leaves Schwarber, Jay, Heyward to go along with KB, Javy, Zo and Riz.

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    This series is a perfect example of why we don't play games on paper.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don't understand this idea that the Nats are far and away the better team on paper. They look pretty even on paper.

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    If they play tonight, Russell is going to steal the highlight reels & the game. Jmo

  • The lineup is posted. Zorilla in right, javy to 2nd and Heyward sits. I can live with this I think. I'm sure it will be another floor pacing, nerve wrecking game.

  • I don't see how this game is gonna be played it's about to rain at approximately the time the game starts.Bruce levine said both teams requested a 1:20 start and mlb said no.I hope the rain steers off track we don't need an arrieta start wasted

  • In reply to bolla:

    I knew TBS wouldn't accept an even earlier start, I'm sure that was the pressure MLB got in even asking. Seems like they'll get it started though. Now it looks like heavy rain won't start til 5:30-6

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    In reply to bolla:

    Man, I hate it when rain delays mess with post-season play. Remember how the rain delay in Game 7 completely changed that game...wait a minute. Nevermind. ;>)

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yea but this is different , it looks like a typhoon on the radar and arrieta is pitching vs the nationals weakest starter(even though roark pitched really good vs the cubs at wrigley this season) this can be a wasted start for jake

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    Have to believe that The Bakers would like to see this game rained out, bring back Strasburg tomorrow.

  • Alot of the Yellow (heavy rain) stuff is fizzling out. Almost all green now and might just be a damp evening and night. The early start as opposed to regular night game start will give them plenty of time to get it is. I think we might have a little of an advantage if there are delays as Montgomery can be a long man and so could Lackey.

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    In reply to KJRyno:

    I think Lackey would be the first "long man" to come in as a result of a rain delay.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    You might think, but changing from righty starter to lefty long guy does attack the left handed hitters like Harper and Murphy. Might be a case of where we are in the lineup. It they have just batted, bring in the righty and if they are due up bring in the lefty.

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    In reply to KJRyno:

    I get what you are saying and it makes sense. To me, though, I think if you DON'T pitch Lackey in this situation (need innings coming off a rain delay which should give him plenty of time to warm up) in a game started by Arrieta then why even put him on the roster?

  • Yea I hope it's like it was in boston yesterday if it rains.It was light rain the majority of the game but they still played

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