Strangely Confident

It's not that I have any good reason to be, losing the first game of a five game series seems to be pretty close to a death sentence. I believe the stat being bandied about is 24 of 28 NLDS Game 1 winners have gone on to win the series, although it' s only 14-14 for the ALDS (that's what I heard on XM this morning). Now, I have no idea why the disparity between two leagues and there's really no logical explanation on why the designated hitter would make a difference, so I'll chalk it up to just one of those statistical oddities that litter baseball's history. Nonetheless, circumstances don't favor the Cubs to win this series.

As for why I think the Cubs are still going to, you should all know that I still believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Okay, that's silly, everyone knows it's just your parents sneaking into your room with a quarter for your incisors. I mean, what kind of rationale being collects teeth? And I have yet to meet a bunny that lays eggs. But no one has still given me a good explanation on how that Atari 2600 showed up for Christmas when I was five, so I'm sticking with the man in the red suit.

As for this series, in the theater of my mind, I saw the Cubs dropping Game 1 and that's why I picked them to win it in four. I just didn't like the match-up of Lowe vs. Dempster. Lowe seems to have had great success against us, especially in Wrigley, and despite the extremely impressive season Dempster had, he's still too walk-happy for my tastes. It's not that I even think it was the wrong decision to start him in Game 1, because other than a healthy Rich Harden, I wouldn't have liked any match-up against Derek Lowe in Game 1.

But I like Zambrano going tonight on the blind assumption that his shoulder is 100%, hell I'd take 80%. And if he does pitch well tonight, I don't doubt that Lou will go with him in a Game 5 over Dempster  if the series gets that far. The Dodgers do counter with one of my favorite young pitchers in baseball, Chad Billingsley, but for many of the reasons I didn't trust Dempster last night, I don't like the odds that Billingsley does much against the Cubs. It's his first postseason start, he's a bit too walk happy and he's a good 50 innings over his career max already.  Now he had a solid September, but I've already mentioned how it was against some of the worst teams and offenses in the league.

Am I being overly optimistic? Probably, but heck, this is how I envisioned the series to be played out, a Game 1 loss followed by three straight Cubs wins. I could be proven wrong at any point over the next three games, but I'll keep believing until that happens.

As for last night, a few concerns, thoughts, general misery... 

- Dempster certainly was wild, but that home plate umpire's erractic strike zone didn't help matters one bit. And that James Loney grand slam had to be one of the more, "I can't believe that just happened" moments I've witnessed as a Cubs fans. Dempster was all over the place already that inning having walked two in a row and the bases loaded and Loney comes up hacking on the first two pitches, two pitches that were out of the zone. I really thought the Cubs caught a break there and then Dempster leaves one up and Loney suddenly takes a good swing. 

- While I'm normally no big fan of small ball, I mentioned in an earlier preview that it might be wise for the Cubs to try and put pressure on a mediocre Dodgers defense. In the 5th though, with a groundball specialist on the mound and "Double Play" Lee at the plate, Lou failed to send Fukudome from first and Lee hit into the inevitable rally killer. Now it probably wouldn't have mattered on that particular play as Lee hit it right up the middle, but it's concerning that Lou seemed content to wait for the big hit, rather than try and make some things happen when the opportunity presented itself.

Quick sidenote, how did they give Casey Blake an error on that ball that Fukudome reached on? Blake was playing in protecting for the bunt and Fukudome rocketed the ball off of him. That's a tough error call. 

- Back to playing small ball, with the lead still just two runs in the sixth, Aramis Ramirez doubled. Soto was unable to advance him to third base, staring at two strikes over the outside corner before striking out. Concerning once again that the Cubs hitters didn't adapt to the situation that presented itself.

- Finally, the bullpen sure did nothing to ease our fears. Sean Marshall's outing was pretty decent and I just can't fault him for that home run to Manny Ramirez which Manny hit off his shoe tops. Yet he still gave up a run in what was still a very close game. And yeah, Samardzija got burned a bit by a bad defensive play by Edmonds, but still gave up a run. And there's no excuse for Marquis, he just kind of sucks. But 4.1 IP from the bullpen and three runs just isn't very reassuring.

- On a positive note, the Cubs already have as many extra base hits as they did in all of last year's Division Series.

- On an negative note, the Cubs have lost 7 post-season games in a row. 

So there we have it, a LONG wait until Game 2 starts and let me tell you, casa de Rob G. was not a happy place last night after the Cubs and Angels games. it doesn't help that I'm surrounded by Dodgers fans at the office either. Hopefully the Cubs give me some ammunition to fight with after tonight. 

 UPDATE: Just to clarify that LDS stat that I heard this morning - by my count, the Wild Card started in 1995 which would mean 26 NLDS series. There also a division series round in 1981 because of the strike. As for random quirks that don't mean a thing, the four NL teams that overcame a first game defeat. 

2003 Marlins - won World Series
2000 Mets - went to World Series
1999 Braves - went to World Series
1981 Dodgers - won World Series

Remarkably, all those teams played the Yankees in the World Series.


Why am I confident that the Cubs will still win this series? Because all throughout this season this 2008 team has done things that no other Cubs team has done for many many years. Winning this series will just be another one of those things.

I actually feel strangely confident right now also.

Not sure why though...

I feel a presence that I have not felt since...

considering the context, i don't think you want to use that quote. Considering who that would make you and all.

Your are proud of your Hebrew heritage, I'm proud of my Sith heritage.



i'm just saying that things don't turn out so good for Darth Vader.

He kills Obi wan a few moment later, and is "reborn" and kills emperor, not too bad.

kills Emperor, brings peace and balance to the Force, saves the universe....not bad.

in that respect, it makes even less sense.

In my take, Darth is on the bad side. Darth's side loses and he get his hand cut off and gets killed.

AND he didn't kill the emperor to save the universe from the Dark Side. He killed the emperor because he still loved his son.

sure, but he knew that killing the Emperor would end the Empire's tyranny. And who cares about his hand, it was mechanical anyway and he didn't get killed, much like Obi-wan. They both chose to die for a greater cause.

He did need to get rotator cuff surgery in the offseason.

But, Vader changes sides. If Jacos is Vader AND a Cubs fan. Then, yes Vader will 'win', but in reality, Jacos would become a Dodger fan out of love for his son and the Dodgers would win...after Jacos dies.

Anakin/Vader was getting his hand lopped more than anyone else getting there finger nails cut.

My son is a WNBA fan.

Yes, my wife and I worried.


So, Jacos will battle his son over watching WNBA. Eventually, Jacos rejects the Cubs out love for his son. Then the LA Sparks will win the World Series.

I feel confident as I got my guy on the hill tonight. I really believe that Z is a big game pitcher who thrives on adrenaline.

I expect a lot from him tonight.

let me also add that I remember quite a few series this season where the Cubs really needed a series win to keep their lead. They, then, dropped the first game only to come back and win the next two.

I'm clearly missing something...

Wild card started in 1995, right? It was suppose to be 1994 but no postseason that year.

Isn't that 26 NLDS series? They must be counting 1981 as well then....

the four NL teams that won after losing Game 1:

2003 Marlins - won World Series

2000 Mets - went to World Series

1999 Braves - went to World Series

1981 Dodgers - won World Series

all 4 teams ended up playing the Yankees, which is weird...or ominous...or meaningless.  

Stats I heard and read yesterday for teams that won game 1:

NL: 23-3
AL: 12-14

I'm not confident...but I am much more relaxed then I was yesterday. I guess I kinda feel at rock bottom now, so expectations are very low that they'll come back, which means another loss won't crush me like yesterday's did.

yeah, that's since the Wild Card and not counting 1981.

I was actually extremely confident going into yesterdays game, but that vanished off Loney's bat. This is a free game for the Dodgers and the Cubs will likely be tight. Z could come out and pitch fantastic, but he could also be the crazy Z and pitch us out of the game by the 3rd inning. I hope for the sane Z tonight.

Go Cubs!!

Manny, I think that you weren't in Parachat might be why we lost last night. Why don't we let bygones be bygones and come together for the win? Gabba gabba we accept you, we accept you, one of us.

I was so confident before the NLDS began that I was actually worried a Cub sweep would wipe out our tickets to game 4.

After the way we lost last night I'm still worried about game 4.


will be in Parachat for the rest of today's game.

stop by...

"And I have yet to meet a bunny that lays eggs."

Yeah, but we sure saw a good team lay one last night - kill that bunny tonight, guys.

The following in some combination will need to occur for the Cubs to right the ship and have a chance:

1. Z pitches his ass off.

2. Soriano can get on base at least twice

3. D-P Lee produces

4. Soto, from the 5-slot, has a key hit

5. Middle relief is completely avoided

6. A-Ram continues his recent "hot-streak" (he upped his NLDS average from last year by hitting a double whereby Soto K's, and he was left stranded at 3B)

Without some kind of combination of the above - at least three of the 6, I do not see it happening.

Alas, if the team loses tonight, the fat lady can sing away from the roof-tops in my opinion.

I have tickets for Game 5, however, and would love to use them.

I'm not gonna get on A-Ram for not producing in the post season. His 2003 post season stats are pretty decent.

what I read looked like a decent piece on the Manny/BoSox drama, if you like Bill Simmons

Look at the picture in that article of Manny holding a trophy, and imagine him with a real short haircut. Tell me he's not Aramis Ramirez's twin brother, or at least first cousin. They have almost the exact same face.

Did anyone get drawn for the the NLDS ticket lottery? I just got an email saying I was selected to purchase NLCS tickets and was wondering what that means in practical terms (i.e. actually be able to buy tickets, stuck in virtual waiting room, etc.).

I got in for the NLDS lottery. The day before they went on sale they emailed me a password that allowed me to buy two tickets to one game. Still had to do the virtual waiting room, but it was pretty painless, about 10-15 minutes.

Another stat I heard on XM this morning is that the Cubs in their entire history have never won a postseason series in which they lost Game One. Given their record in postseason series, I'm guessing they also lost quite a few in which they won Game One.

Nevertheless, I am strangely confident too. A streak like that has gotta end sometime, and this one is way overdue. Win tonight and all we've gotta do is split in LA to bring it back home for the deciding game.

On my way to the roof top on Sheffield.

Look for me I will be the one wearing the Cubs hat


Watch out for the drunks after the game, Jacos - or maybe during as well.


Hey, how 'bout a hand for Jacos. Great sport. Great sport.

they're as retarded as we all expected.

The Cubs brought a heavy hitter to Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon, asking the Rev. James L. Greanias, a Greek Orthodox priest from St. Iakovos Church in Valparaiso, Ind., to spread holy water around the dugout to remove an alleged curse that has hovered over the ballclub since its last World Series appearance in 1945.

that shit don't mean a thing, but the last thing anyone associated with the Cubs needs to do is perpetuate the myth.

"but the last thing anyone associated with the Cubs needs to do is perpetuate the myth."


it's also a side show that distracts from how strong this team has been all season and can be this postseason.

Crane Kenney responsible for it...

lol @ Rob G.'s psychotic optimism.

In all seriousness, it is what it is. Lost game 1 in a 5 game series.

Got this from a friend -- fitting pre-game song for Game 2:

And, now that I think about it, a fitting theme song for Palin in the debate tonight as well.

Kenny Loggins--a hit machine with the heart of a rock and roller. Unfortunately, he's trapped in a prison of gentle grooves.

Oh hi! I'm Hollywood Steve! You've caught me blowing home field advantage!

DeRosa 5th, Edmonds 6th, Soto 7th, everything else the same...

"...but the last thing anyone associated with the Cubs needs to do is perpetuate the myth."

That's really ridiculous - what an asshat. Oooh, curses, voodoo...scaly, huh, keeds?

Just win the farkin' game.

4th start on 3 days rest isn't working out so well for CC

BTW, you should see the fans filing past my front door right now (I'm a mile west on Addison) - jeez, they're almost funereal. Lighten up, guys.

Get out there and fire 'em up DMac!

I actually felt sorry for Sabathia during that last inning - his arm's gonna fall off if they keep him in past the 6th at this rate.

well now at least Dempster has somethings in common with CC Sabathia


I can see tomorrows headline in Milwaukee--

"Sabathia Contracts Dempsteritis"

Dempster just had no control. Sabathia has been rocked. I've been watching the whole game and he's been hit hard by virtually everyone but the lefthanders in the lineup.

on Sabathia last night, but Mr. "I had a 7.17 ERA in the playoffs for my career" Sabathia can add a 4th digit to his postseason ERA. I hope the Cubs stay clear of the 175 million price tag on him.

Recent comments

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  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.