Cubs' Worst Game in, Oh, About 48 Hours: D-Backs 7, Cubs 2
The Cubs dropped their fourth game in five as Arizona's Dan Haren pitched a complete game, three-hitter to beat Ted Lilly, who just pitched like hell.
Why the Cubs lost: Aside from Alfonso Soriano's leadoff home run, Mike Fontenot's eighth-inning solo shot, and Lilly's third-inning single, the Cubs could do nothing against Haren.
On the mound, Lilly had little command of his breaking ball and it was painful to watch him try to steer his pitches over the plate. After walking but two hitters in his first 18 2/3 IP this season, the Cub lefty passed four men in his five innings Monday night. Worse, a number of the pitches that were in the strike zone got massacred, including one to Arizona catcher Chris Snyder (hitting just .094 coming into the game), that wound up 425 feet or so from home plate, in the seats beyond straightaway center field.
On defense, Fontenot, continuing to fill in for the injured Aramis Ramirez, looked awful, committing two errors, getting betrayed by his footwork on a routine ground ball (resulting in an "infield hit" for Justin Upton), and dropping the ball after what would have been a caught stealing on the Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds in the early going. Fontenot also allowed a chopper hit by Haren to go over his head for a two-run double during the home team's decisive four-run, fourth-inning rally.
Speaking of caught stealing, the Diamondbacks weren't, not in five other attempts against the Lilly and Soto or David Patton and Soto batteries. Arizona seemed to come into this game determined to test Soto's balky right shoulder and the results for the Cubs on this night were dismal. I would think we can expect to see a lot more of this from Cub opponents in the near future.
On a positive note: Kosuke Fukudome gunned down Reynolds, attempting to score from third on a medium-deep fly ball. Fukudome threw the ball to Soto on the fly and Reynolds was tagged out without ever touching home plate. Also, Jeff Samardzija followed Patton to the hill and struck out two men in his one inning of work.
In honor of the Chicago Blackhawks, winners of their first-round playoff series against the Calgary Flames, here are your 3 stars of the game: Dan Haren, Dan Haren, and Dan Haren.
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.
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:
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.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.