Just a bit late. I stopped doing back in the day because
- the team was too boring to write about daily
- other things were more interesting to write about daily
- other people were mote interesting to write about the Cubs daily
These Cubs are very interesting, but the other two remain an issue. But, I started doing these things and I’m going to try and finish.
The Schwarber home run was fairly great. It’s seems impossible TV didn’t have an angle of where it landed. It’s kind of cute that it’s top of the scoreboard, but it’s also going to look very silly if they don’t finish this out. It was very much filling a need for something to talk about for a few days. Everyone was so excited about the Cubs advancing, on their home field even!, and then they had no next opponent to talk about for days. Obsessing about that ball filled one of them.
The thing they should’ve been talking about – and maybe just wore out in the hours after that game – was that bottom of the 2nd. The whole series turned on Lackey throwing Hammel a hittable pitch, and by throwing Javier Baez anything in the strike zone. Baez has looked better since coming back up in September and looked good in this series – he may be having his own Soler moment – but he still seems like a guy who will get himself out. Lackey broke in the moment, and that was huge. The Cardinals tied it back up over Cahill (the only bad night from some improbably good reliever) but that was most of the Cubs offense over two at bats.
I think there’s some talk about the Cardinals fading next year, and maybe they won’t win 100. They looked like an aging team in times during this series, but they’re still in good shape if Molina is fine next spring and Wainwright can taking his place back in the rotation. (He was pretty great out of the pen.) The order might change, but it’s going to be a three way dogfight between the same teams in the Central again in 2016.
It’s amazing how a few games can change perceptions of the team, if those games come in the playoffs. The talk coming into the Wild Card game was about the domination pitching of Arrieta & Lester. The talk the last few days has been the Mets pitching against the Cubs hitting, with the possible Cy Young winner being an afterthought. Arrieta did not look himself in his last start and I liked the idea of bumping him to Game 2 to give him an extra day of rest, but one bad start doesn’t counterbalance thirteen good ones. If he’s back to normal and the Cubs hit the Mets like they hit against the Cardinals, no one’s beating them. (The trouble is no one hits that well for long.)
What else? Berry got added to the roster! I’ve gotten a lot of well deserved taunting texts after insisting Soler was going to get benched for Berry last round, so I’m crossing my fingers he actually has a moment this round. I was a little surprised they didn’t add Herrera this round, because they’re shallow in the middle infield. Baez starts at SS, Castro can will move over there in a emergency, La Stella can cover second, and that’s just about it. Maybe Coghlan plays an inning or two at 2B again. Maybe Bryant gets eligibility at another position. Herrera can’t hit at all, but he could’ve allowed more movement. Berry can’t hit either. He can play outfield, but so can half this team. Maybe this is a trade off for more catcher swapping? They’re starting Ross tonight, that’d be the time.
I feel weirdly confident and not all nervous about this. There’s nothing to feel angst about, this is found money on top of found money. I’m not too worried even when they’re tied or down late, like I was the last few times. I don’t know what that means.