"This ballgame is ovah." The words are familiar after all these years and the inflection conveyed the scoreline. The entire afternoon was a fitting end for the career of longtime broadcaster on the Southside. There was something poetic in a caricature whom the game had long passed by having his moment spoiled by his most hated foe. I'm sure Ken Harrelson has been a perfectly nice man to many people and if you want to look back nostalgicly at the career of Hawk there are plenty of places to find them. However, I am not going to pretend to be sad about a man who spent 30 years in the booth because he sent his beloved franchise back a decade in a year as GM. My initial dislike was based almost certainly on him being the archetype for the White Sox fan more concerned with the fate of the Northside nine than that of his beloved Chicago side. However, the game is better off without analysis in the vein of A.J. Pierzynski was lucky that Michaell Barrett "punches like a girl" this afternoon, and it is certainly better off without the various racist dogwhistles throughout the years. You are allowed to be sad about your racist grandpa retiring, but I don't have to memorialize it here.
The game on the field was certainly needed for the Cubs as they lowered their magic number down to five. Carlos Rodón had pitched well since coming back from arm injury, but the Cubs lineup sprung to life early. The old man daily double of Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist delivered back to back singles to start the game. Rodón blew a high heater past Javier Báez for the first out. Anthony Rizzo doubled to drive in Murphy to open the scoring for the Cubs. Zobrist scored on an Albert Almora Jr. groundout. David Bote hit a groundball single to drive in Rizzo to put the Cubs up 3-0. That would be more than enough for Kyle Hendricks. Willson Contreras flew out to end the inning.
The largest positive of the afternoon was Kyle Hendricks reverting back to Greg Maddux form. Hendricks threw 7.2 innings and was in command in every sense of the word throughout the afternoon. A three run lead would have felt insurmountable with the way the Professor was dealing. A two out single to the Beef Castle in the second inning removed any perfect game watch. The shutout was lost in the fifth inning with Welington Castillo again coming through. This time it was a double, and he scored on Tim Anderson's two out double. But the game was largely out of reach by that point.
Kyle Schwarber hit a moonshot to start the second inning. It was perfectly timed to occur during the first of many gifts given to Harrelson on the afternoon. The Cubs ended Rodón's day in the third inning. Almora started the inning with a single and David Bote was hit by a pitch. Schwarber doubled to drive in Almora after Contreras struck out swinging. David Bote hit a groundball out against Aaron Bummer. That was a bit of a bummer for Rodón who was charged another un with Bote crossing home plate. The promising lefty gave up six runs in 2.1 innings of work.
The Cubs bats produced a lot of baserunners against White Sox relievers. 11 Cubs reached in the 6.2 innings thrown, but they never could punch in any more insurance runs. That looked like it might be an issue in the seventh inning. Tim Anderson singled with one out in the seventh inning. Hendricks struck out Adam Engel for the second out of the inning, and Joe Maddon elected to go to Jorge de la Rosa for the final out. Joe was rewarded with four straight retired to end the game. Cubs win a meaningless cup. Hendricks is great again and the only cloud on the afternoon was Kris Bryant sitting for "precautionary" reasons with a sore shoulder.
I debated talking about Ken Harrelson here, and I am certain more than a few probably dislike the words I chose. I did think about saying nothing. The inner monologue I had was pretty similar to this clip. As you can see I made the same choice as Captain Holt did and I feel the same way he did.