Cubs Win Streak Ends at 5
The Cubs five-game win streak doesn't make it to six and and the loss coupled with the Cardinals win over the Dodgers, drops the Cubs back to second place. Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and was nothing short of awful. 5 IP, 9 H, 3 K and 5 ER, 6 total and the error was his own. But at least he didn't walk anyone! With the Cubs catching a huge break when Roy Oswalt left in the second inning with a back injury, the Cubs just needed some decent pitching to stay in this one and they sure didn't get it from Dempster or the bullpen.
Armchair Managing: The Cubs first comeback started in the fourth when Wesley Wright just completely lost it and missed the strike zone on 10 straight pitches and quite a few more before and after as well. He walked the bases loaded on two occasions with a sacrifice fly in-between and with lefty Mike Fontenot in the original lineup with Oswalt starting, Lou went to the bench early and called on Reed Johnson to pinch-hit and he came through with a 2-out, 2-run single. Then a nicely executed double steal put runners on 2nd/3rd but also gave the Astros the opportunity to intentionally walk Koyie Hill and force Lou's hand with Dempster due up. Lou didn't take the bait and let Dempster hit and he naturally struck out. If you're already going for the big inning by pinch-hitting for Fontenot, I think you have to do the same with Dempster there. And if Lou called for the double steal, he basically ended the Cubs inning if he wasn't going to pinch-hit for Dempster, since you know Cooper would walk Hill there. This all leads me to believe that Lou is a terrible chess player. Dempster then rewarded Lou's faith by giving up a 2-run HR in the top of the fifth that gave the Astros a 6-3 lead.
Ramirez's three-run dinger int he bottom of the fifth neutralized the damage though and then the bullpen proceeded to flush the game and first place with it.
Half-Ass Parachat Recap:
- Miggy's 3-run HR in the first
- well it looked like a HR, sac fly instead
- Debating Top 10 defensive plays of the decade
- Was Giambi safe?
- Was Giambi safe?
- laughing at the Astros misfortune with Roy Oswalt
- Valverde with Fulchino is delicious
- Transmission's date with his sister
- Following Buehrle's quest for back-to-back perfectos and congratulations on the new record...now go die!
- "Ryan Dempster is NOT pitching a perfect game" - Ryno
- Finding Trans a date on craigslist
- We wouldn't have to do this if you weren't having dates with your sister.
- I get bored doing the Parachat recap...
- stupid blackout rules, bring Trans back to us
And congratulations to the Angel Fan Wife on being married to me for 8 years...I imagine it's been just as insufferable as being a Cub fan sometime over the last 100. Lots of expectations, but neither of us deliver....
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.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.