Good Morning Cubs fans! What a weekend we’ve had. The unfortunate loss on Friday night worried me, knowing that without winning at least one early game at Busch the Cubs would have a very difficult time making the next round. Well low and behold what Jon Lester couldn’t do, Kyle Hendricks could!
Lester really pitched an incredible game on Friday night, he just had a little bit of trouble in that first inning and that ruined the outing for him and unfortunately Lackey pitched almost as well as Lester and prevented the Cubs from scoring any runs, of course the very high strike zone didn’t help either. They didn’t play badly but the Cubs certainly played more aggressive ball on Saturday night. They immediately came out swinging Saturday night. Jorge Soler’s huge 2 run homer on Saturday proved once again that Joe Maddon is a genius, swapping out left handed batter Schwarber for righty Soler proved to be a masterful move. That bunting practice Maddon put the team through the other day also seemed to have paid off, the second inning of Saturday night was impactful not just due to the homerun; apparently small ball really does win ball games. When you see a pitcher get up to bat you tend to worry but Hendricks’s bunt on Saturday combines with the Cardinals error scored a run and left two runners on base for Addison Russell to follow up with a second sac bunt and bring another runner in to score. The second inning was huge and followed up by a safety run in the third. Hendricks pitched a solid outing until giving up two home runs in the 5th but the bullpen did an excellent job shutting down the Cardinals offense and keeping the game in Cubs hands.
Tonight will be great; Jake Arrieta pitching at home against Wacha, who does not have excellent numbers against the Cubs this season. Tomorrow is the question mark, who will Joe Maddon start for the second home game and potential clincher of the NLDS? Short rest for Lester who could potentially get a W at home and then everyone gets 3 days rest before the next series? Or put in Jason Hammel hope that he brings his very best stuff to the game and that the bullpen finish the job and leave Lester to be able to pitch the potential game in St Louis Thursday. Things are about the get very interesting on the North side, and throughout all of Cubby Nation.
On a second note of much talked about baseball moments from the weekend; Chase Utley made a very dirty play. While I doubt he was intentionally trying to break Tejada’s leg in his “slide” at second base on Saturday night he was very clearly aiming to hit Tejada and not the base. I’m all for playing hardball and breaking up double plays, but I think ultimately you need to at least be aiming for the base because that is in fact where you are supposed to be going on your run from first to second. There have been a number of bad slides (in varying degrees of awfulness) this season but this was on the national stage and seriously injured another player. If Utley had really been sliding he would have 1 Started it sooner and 2 come within a reasonable area of the base. You can hit the fielder, that is part of the game, but the intention was only to hit the infielder Utley was not trying to land safely at second and break up a double he only intended to ruin the play at first. It shows a great lack of respect for the game and fellow players when someone does something like that, it’s just dirty play and I hope his suspension is not overturned.
More importantly, Jake Arrieta tonight at home 6pm Eastern. Go Cubs Go! Who knew they played baseball this late in October right?!