Play it Again, Jake--Cubs 3 Dodgers 2

The Dodgers outplayed the Cubs for 3 games. They always responded instantly to any outburst from the limp Cubs bat, and then added some additional runs when needed. The bullpen has been invicible, and there was little that made you think the outcome would be much different tonight.

That is all except for Jake Arrieta. The Cubs most recent Cy Young award winner took the ball in an elimination game again, and he did exactly what he has done in each of those opportunities. Arrieta retired the first two Dodgers, but a Justin Turner walk and Yasiel Puig single started a two out rally. Arrieta struck out Andre Ethier to put out the fire and keep the score level after one. Alex Wood made quick work of the Cubs in the bottom half of the inning.

Arrieta's only blip in the second inning was a Chase Utley hit by pitch with two outs. Wood retired Rizzo to start the bottom of the second. Willson Contreras obliterated the ball to give the Cubs the lead yet again. Addison Russell struck out, but Javier Baez made his first hit of the series count by placing it in the bleachers. The Cubs 2-0 lead was a familiar feeling. It was a familiar feeling in the top of the third when Cody Bellinger launched a one out solo shot to make it a 2-1 game. But the script diverged from games 1-3 at this point as Arrieta retired Puig and Ethier to give the Cubs their first true lead of the series.

Wood and Arrieta traded zeroes for a couple innings. Each pitcher faced the minimum. The streak was broken up with Baez's second home run of the night. That gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Wood wouldn't finish the fifth inning, and the Cubs offense had done enough for Jake it seemed. The leadoff hitter reached to start the sixth and seventh inning, but they were kept off the board in each frame. Jake could not finish the seventh, but Brian Duensing retired Bellinger to keep the score 3-1.

Ross Stripling, Tony Watson, Kenta Maeda and Tony Cingrani retired the 7 Cubs they faced to reach the eighth inning. Wade Davis was give the ball with the heart of the Dodger order. Justin Turner homered because he is incapable of doing anything different. Puig drew a walk, but Ethier fouled out on a nifty grab by Kris Bryant for the first out. Curtis Granderson struck out, but it included some drama. Granderson swung over the top of the pitch, but argued that he made contact. Dave Roberts went out to argue and the umpires conferred together. The conference somehow decided that Granderson did make some mythical contact. Joe Maddon couldn't believe and ended up arguing until he was tossed. Davis threw exactly the same pitch and got a swing and miss to end the at bat. Yasmani Grandal drew a walk to extend the inning, but Chase Utley was struck out on the 37th pitch of the at bat to end the inning with the Cubs clinging to a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs offense went to work against Cingrani in the eighth inning. Cingrani hit Jon Jay with a pitch. Wade Davis was allowed to bat and made no attempt to bunt Jay over. He had a lengthy battle with Cingrani, but was called out on strikes. Albert Almora singled for his first hit of the night, but he was erased on a Jason Heyward fielder's choice. Roberts went to Josh Fields and Kris Bryant grounded out to end the inning.

Wade went back to work and looked brillant to start the inning. He struck out Austin Barnes, but after getting ahead of Chris Taylor ended up walking the Dodger leadoff hitter. Wade fell behind Bellinger, but he rolled over a pitch right to Javy. The Cubs middle infield did what it does and turned the double play smoothly to extend the series one more night.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

One Last Jake Day?
I don't know what the future will bring for Jake Arrieta. Part of me thinks that the front office will be content to collect a draft pick. Part of me looks at the other options on the market and the two large holes in the rotation for 2018. Either way what isn't in doubt is Jake Arrieta's legacy here. He came through with the type of performance that the Cubs have needed all series. It isn't good enough for the Cubs to get okay or even good starting pitching. If they are going to win this thing they need great starting pitching. And Jake had another performance that has helped change the fortunes of this franchise. The Wild Card game in 2015 was so key for the ascendence of this club, and game 6 of the World Series was the exclamation point on that ascension. Hopefully Jake gets at least one more start in 2017 because I am not ready to see him leave yet.

The Price of a Win
Joe made the right call to go to Wade Davis to face the two Dodgers that are absolutely crushing everything they see. It didn't work as Justin Turner crushed a high pitch to get the Dodgers back into the game, and then Davis put the tying run on base via the walk in each inning. Wade has suddenly become a high wire act, but it worked out tonight as it did in game 5 of the NLDS. The price is that Davis is going to be hard pressed to go in game 5 tomorrow after throwing 47 pitches. He might only be available for an inning in games 6 or 7 at this point as well. It doesn't matter since you had to win tonight, but it might have been nice to see Tommy La Stella or Ian Happ get an at bat in the eighth inning to try to break the game open.

Random Reference
I want to believe. I want to think that this team can do the improbable just one more time. It is a tall task, but if you win tomorrow night the pressure suddenly shifts back to the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw wasn't great in his last elimination game at Wrigley after all. Jon Lester is pretty damn good in October. And anything can happen in a game 7.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    Good for the Cubs, however, we still aren't getting the base hits or walks that we need. They have such a tough lineup, they don't swing at balls outside the zone (except Jake had them doing that tonight) but they're doing what we did last year. We just have to get back to that.
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think every run the Cubs have score in the series has been via a homerun, and only one with a man on base. All five runs in this game were solo homeruns. Stringing hits together is so hard.

  • 8 more walks for LA, none for our guys. That brings the total thru 4 gms to 26 to 5. It's not just the walks, but the quality of each AB for the top 3 guys, Taylor, Bellinger, and Turner is impressive. Putting any of these guys away takes max effort. Watching them get to two strikes then fouling off good pitch after good pitch until they either walk or get something to drive while the pitch count climbs, is just frustrating to watch.
    However, we still got the win and that means we get another chance to see if the Cubs can get their mojo back. One more win and Dodger fans are gonna start to get a little nervous. Regardless of the outcome, I always hope the other team and their fans have to sweat a little. So far this postseason, it's been too easy for the Dodgers. We need 3 wins in a row. Will it happen? Probably not, but Quintana, Lester, and Hendricks are no cupcakes. Let's hope they get some help from the bats.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Yes, 8 walks in a game is not sustainable...very glad that the Cubs got that one win.

    One game at a time. For whatever reason, the Cubs usually hit Kershaw well. Let's get an early 2-3 run lead and see what happens.

  • Granderson's "foul tip" initiated one of the dumbest umpire moves I think I've ever seen, and I've seen a few. Umpire Wolf got it right (after botching a 3rd strike foul-tip to Rizzo earlier that ended the Cubs inning) but was overruled by the crew chief at 3B? Worse, the ump meeting was clearly called by Roberts, who continued to whine after being told that foul tips aren't reviewable. Still shaking my head over that one...

    Cubs win! At least I feel better that they weren't swept.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The foul tip could only be called if one of the other umps actually SAW the foul tip even though it should have never been reviewed in the first place. That was an outright lie by the ump that said he saw the foul tip. He was the one that should have been ejected! When are these umps going to be held accountable?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I was LIVID after that call and almost got tossed myself. I lossed my mind. And I certainly wasn't the only one. If Granderson hit a homer there it would have gotten real ugly. I mean fans storming the field ugly. Outrageous call. MLB should announce this morning that that entire crew has been sent home for the rest of the year and a new crew is being brought in.

    Granderson has always been a class act. I lost a little respect for him claiming a foul tip. Not even close.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Wolf admitted his mistake after the game.

    It was ludicrous call.

    One game at a time!!! :-)

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Yes, but I didn't see anything about him admitting to botching a strike-three call to Rizzo earlier. Lately, Rizzo doesn't need any help striking out.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Rumor has it that Rizzo has just received a couple of 34 ounce packages from his buddy in San Diego.

    :)

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I've been saying to the gang here at the office I am proud that in the heat of that moment I reacted and behaved in a way I am not proud of. When I get there tonight, I'm gonna make a point of apologizing to the regulars in our section for all the F Bombs I hurled at those #%!&!!!!!! umps.

  • In reply to TTP:

    You are proud of reacting in a way you are not proud of? Got it!!!! LMFAO.

    I get it. As passionate fans, we want to get beat by the other team, not have an ump, ref, or something of the like interfere with the outcome. If the other team beats you, it is easier to move on than a horrible call. You get a pass in my book.

    Jim Wolf's brother Randy pitched for the Dodgers and the Wolf family is from Woodland Hills -- clearly Dodgers fans. Hmmmm....

  • In reply to TTP:

    Those were my thoughts watching on tv. The entire scene of the call was bad enough, but I was thinking "if Granderson goes yard, Wrigley is going to get really ugly".

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    MLB favors the Dodgers. It is obvious and that play is proof.

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    No doubt a WS between teams from the country's two largest markets would be a desirable outcome for MLB, but seeing the Yankees on my TV is an automatic channel changer...

  • fb_avatar

    Don't know if anyone else saw all the pitches the plate umpire was missing when Jake was pitching, Wilson was having a hard time catching and framing because Jake was all over the place,but they were strikes. Just proves the need for video needed to call pitches, not plausible for the human eye to track strikes, the umps call strikes according to framing, but when the pitcher misses his spot and throws across the plate the human eye cannot follow the zone, it follows the glove. The ump had no problem calling balls 2 inches off the plate strikes, but balls that were strikes were missed continuously.

  • In reply to tater:

    I did notice that and it was very frustrating. Umpires are paid to make the right call; it should not have anything to do with framing. If it is a strike, it is a strike. Umpires change the outcome of the game by blowing these calls. Dodgers pitchers were getting strikes called that were clearly balls. It just seems this series the umpires are giving the Dodgers all of the calls and blowing obvious calls against the Cubs.

    Time for an electronic strike zone that makes the right call every time.

  • fb_avatar

    Tater
    I completely agree! That was my chief complaint the entire game Wilson didn't help out Jake too much with his framing
    He DID help with that monster home run however.. what a beauty.

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    How does one "frame" a pitch that is breaking 6 inches down and out at it crosses the plate? Kind of hard to hold your glove still when the ball has THAT much movement.

    I was surprised that Willson was not using one of those big mitts that JC Martin used to catch Hoyt Wilhelm's knuckleball back in the day.

  • Last night had a very similar feel to Game 5 of the WS last year & what do you know the same final score too. The Cubs are in a worse spot this year than last, having to win 4 in a row compared to 3 BUT like I said last year to Indian fans, Dodgers have to be careful not to wake a sleeping giant. As good as the Dodgers offense has been thus far, the Cubs offense can be that good too.

    Couple notes perhaps we can hang our hat on is while the Dodgers dominated almost the entire season, they did have a 10 game losing streak so its in them to go in a funk. Outside of Strasburg, the Cubs offense also seems to do better the second time they see a SP.

  • fb_avatar

    Hopefully Q can go 7-8 tonight. And a huge spark from any player would be great.

  • Why was Davis not trying to bunt the runner over if he is going to bat???

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Yes. What the strategy was there is mystifying. I expected a bunt. But then Davis left the bat on his shoulder. So I assumed he hasn't batted in years and probably hasn't bunted in forever, and didn't want him running hard to 1st to avoid a DP, so they were OK with him just being called out on strikes. But then he starts swinging and risking a DP and that was just crazy. Wonder if anyone has heard an explanation.

    Also, why didn't Leonys Martin run for Jay in the bottom of the 8th? That was a no brainer, both for running the bases and defensively in the 9th.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Totally agree Davis should have been bunting for sure, even if he did not succeed we could have had a man on 2nd base and he we have scored on Almora's single 4-2 game instead of 3-2

  • The dodgers better win tonight or pressure starts to build.Baez finally broke out in a big way.That call on the non foul tip by granderson was absolutely awful.I hope quintana can throw a complete game gem.If the dodgers lose tonight then the series changes

  • fb_avatar

    The umps have been horrible in most of this series. Yeah , the Cubs have looked bad, but the umps have been worse. It's like MLB wants a LA/New York WS.

  • Still, only 5 hits for the Cubs, ZERO walks and 11 strikeouts. Luckily, 3 of the hits left the ballpark. Quintana can excel tonight, but somebody's got to get on base unless SuperJavy makes another appearance.

  • I guess we now have to sing "It's one, two, three, four strikes and you're out..." Robo-ups now. Please.

  • 1. Jake was masterful. What a performance. He put that team on his shoulders. If that's the last time he throws for the Cubs, it was a bute, so fitting, and perfectly appropriate. I will always remember him for that 2015 Wild Card game in Pitt. But this one goes right ups there too.

    2. Javy brings joy! What a performance! Kicked down the door. I heard he said he just stopped thinking so much and just started reacting. Love it. Hope he stays hot. He has a knack for coming up big in the biggest moments. Gosh, I love that kid. My favorite Cub -- not just now, but of all time.

    3. I've been harping here all season that Albert Almora needs to play everyday. More than anyone else, AA is best simply described as a BALLPLAYER. Jay taking ABs away from AA is one of the reasons I've been so hard of Jay. Of course, perhaps Joe has brought AA along perfectly, putting him in positions to succeed, gradually giving him more and more ABs vs. RHP. No more training wheels! He's ready to be the everyday starting CF and lead off man next year -- and for every game the rest of this year.

    4. Davis. Heroic once again. Machine like.

    5. Finally, I will say it again, its all about the journey. I don't know what will happen -- but I really think with Q and Lester for the next two, we very well may be able to get this to GM7. It can happen! But no matter what, I can't tell you what a joy, how remarkable, how memorable it was to have the experience of being at Wrigley Field last night. Unforgettable. A great addition to Cub lore. One of the great highlights of

    OMG! Can they do it?! Greatest comeback ever?! You bet your arse they can! Let's see what happens!

    Let's Go Cubs!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Great points by you. You and I have gone around and around at times,but i must say you are right on the money. If we can get by Kershaw tonight I like are chances Lester vs Hill then Hendricks vs
    Davish. I am really reaching for the sky here,but if we can get our bats going, I really like our chances

  • In reply to TTP:

    It's all about the bats for me. Kershaw hasn't been great but he's considered the greatest pitcher of his generation for a reason. If his stuff isn't quite there he will dig deep. Bryant, Rizzo and others have to dig deeper. He won't throw all strikes. Take some pitches, don't let the curve beat you, make some guesses on when it's coming and lay off, make him throw over the plate. One of the starkest contrasts in this series to me is that our guys have pitched well but any pitch where they try to induce the batter to expand the zone their guys lay off. They do that to us and our guys swing. It was a little better last night but if we're going to make an historic comeback it has to be much better. We'll win this game if we can do that and then I'll take my chances. If the series goes back to LA we will be in their heads. How could not be so? They know what happened last year and maybe they'll be the guys who look tight. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to TC154:

    Don't necessarily disagree with the bats comments but to me Quintana is the key to the game. We all know Kershaw is good, Cubs bats are struggling and so is the bullpen thats why it is crucial for Quintana to go 6 hopefully 7 quality innings. If he pitches into the 7th tonight I like the Cubs chances.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Javy is best when he plays as a kid. His instincts are as good as his baseball IQ and feel for game.

    Almora might be our future, but Jay can also be referred to as a baseball player.

  • Our bats have to come alive just to help our pitchers out. Everyone of our batters can hit a home run just by swinging the bat. They do not need to swing for the fences. Go with the pitch and hit to the opposite field and watch all the runs crossing the plate. GO CUBBIES!

Leave a comment