Nearly 7 innings of great baseball from the pitching and defense, ruined in 4 batters. That was a debacle deep-fried in a disaster served with a chaser of Cubbery.
20/20 Hindsight: After 6 innings of one run ball, 71 pitches and retiring 14 of 16 since the 2nd inning, Lou lifts Carlos Silva. Silva apparently did have some right shoulder tightness. Fair enough. Lou replaces him with another sinker baller in Justin Berg, who takes 7 pitches to get through the 7th. I think it's safe to say the Reds weren't handling the sinker too good by this point. Lou even double switched Marlon Byrd so the pitcher's spot in the lineup wouldn't come up in the top of the 8th. Naturally, you still must replace Berg because he worked an entire inning. He cannot possbly handle the rigors of sitting on the bench for 10 minutes to face the bottom of the lineup after retiring the Reds 4-5-6 hitters. Not when such bullpen lynchpins like Esmailin Caridad and John Grabow can be called upon. Lou goes with Caridad, working for the third straight day and Caridad takes Gomes 0-2 and then loses him on a walk. He does the same with Ramon Hernandez(hint to Lou that he might not have it tonight) and then him and Ramirez get confused on how to take an out when the other team gives it to you, followed by throwing a pitch up and over the plate when Koyie sets-up low and inside on Drew Stubbs. Game over.
This idea of defined roles in the bullpen is neat and all, when you actually have players worth defining. The Cubs have Marmol to close and 6 other guys. Play the match-ups and ride the hot hand. Nobody in that pen besides Marmol is deserving of the benefit of the doubt or entitled to any set role at the moment.
The Good: Carlos Silva was...um...brilliant! Who expected that? The defense did make some fine plays behind him. Ryan Theriot is off the schnide. Mike Fontenot goes 4/5.
Minor League Watch: Jay Jackson got the start for Iowa and goes 5 innings, but gives up 3 runs on 2 home runs. He does strike out 4. Hoffpauir and Dubois go deep in the 5-2 loss. John Gaub gives up 2 runs in an inning of work. At AA, Tony Campana goes 3/4 with a BB and 2 stolen bases out of the leadoff spot and Brandon Guyer goes 2/4 with 2 SB's. Castro goes 1/5. On the pitching side, Ryan Buchter strikes out the side in his inning of work and Jake Muyco picks up the save as Tennessee wins 5-4. Vitters, LeMahieu and Burke each go 1/4 for Daytona with Vitters making an error and getting picked off. Chris Rusin gets tagged for 6 runs in 4 innings in a 7-0 loss. I don't believe Daytona has an extra base hit yet. Jose Valdez goes 3/4 with 2 SB's, plus getting caught once and getting picked off after going 2/4 on Opening night. Peoria loses 5-4 though, although Jeff Antigua strikes out 5 in 5 innings, giving up 2 runs.
Next Up: Z tries to redeem himself against Aaron Harang.
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.