10 Thoughts on NLCS Game 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Chicago Cubs

Jake Arrietta is a scary pitcher. He is imposing on the mound and he owns the Dodgers. I was hoping the Dodgers would not give the Cubs a breath of life in this series. However with a 3-2 win tonight, the Cubs have shown they are a hard team to put away.

  1. Jake Arrietta came out throwing hard. Nasty hard! He was also a little erratic early. He dominated the Dodgers for the 6.2 innings.
  2. Yasiel Puig is still raking in this series. Puig went 1-3 and missed an opportunity to drive in some runs.
  3. Wilson Contreras and Javie Baez hit home runs in the bottom of the second inning. Contreras’ home run went 491 feet off the scoreboard in left field. Baez hit a low changeup down the left field line. The Cubs struck first again which didn’t seem to bother me because the Cubs had been ahead in all three of the prior games.
  4. The Dodgers bounced back in the top of the third inning when Cody Bellinger hit his second home run of the postseason.
  5. I am not sure what Dave Roberts did with his lineup for Game 4 but I was not a fan. After Yasiel Puig in the cleanup position, the lineup was a waste of time and was doing the Cubs a favor. Andre Ethier struck out twice. Curtis Granderson struck out four times. Yasmani Grandal walked three times; which was ok for him. Chase Utley struck out twice. That means batters 5 through 8 went 0 for 12 with strikeouts. Why not play Logan Forsythe who has been hitting? Why sit Austin Barnes?
  6. Justin Turner just hits. He went 2 for 4 with home run and two walks. He is seeing the ball so well, I am sure he doesn’t want an off-season.
  7. Javier Baez has two hits in the postseason and they are both home runs he hit in Game 4.  The Dodgers have allowed this guy to get confident and it could be a series changer.
  8. The Dodger bullpen shut down the Cubs yet again. The part of the team that was the Achilles heel in past seasons has really put up some great appearances. They need to go to the World Series.
  9. Wade Davis pitched a two inning save; throwing 30 pitches in the first inning. I wonder how much he is going to have left for Game 5.
  10. Dodgers 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position. I am not sure what is more suprising: they didn’t drive in runs or they had such few opportunities to drive in the runs.

10 Thoughts on NLCS Game 3 – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Chicago Cubs

As the series shifted venues to Wrigley Field, I was worried the Cubs would be able to get some momentum that escaped them in Los Angeles. The Cubs are a resilient team and just needed the ball to bounce their way to get back in this series.

  1. Kyle Schwarber started the game off with a home run.
  2. After the homerun, my first thought was Yu Darvish may not have it tonight. However like I have said of Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, we only need five good innings.
  3. Andre Ethier’s homerun in the top of the 2nd inning was a surprise that couldn’t have happened to a better person. Ethier had been recovering from injuries all season, and I am not sure how healthy he is right now, so stepping in at that time was a big contribution going 2 for 3 with some great verteran hitting.
  4. Chris Taylor hit another home run. As I have said before, he is my MVP for this team and maybe should be MVP of the NLCS. He followed up the home rune with a triple.
  5. Joc Pederson’s double was another big hit for a guy who really needed a big hit.
  6. More surprising was Yu Darvish drawing a walk off of Carl Edwards, Jr. I thought Edwards had exorcised his demons in Game 2. However walking the opposing team’s pitcher on four pitches with the bases loaded shows there are still some demons to be worked out.
  7. Scoring on a pass ball in the 7th was a sign to me that the Cubs were melting down. The frustration was kicking in as they had leads in all three games only to see them disappear.
  8. The bullpen was once again lights out. They have retired 29 of 31 Cub hitters they have faced in the NLCS.
  9. Ross Stripling came in and gave up the two black marks on the bullpen record.
  10. Kenley Jansen is un-hittable right now. It is not even worth trying when you are facing him.

10 Thoughts on NLCS Game 2 – Chicago Cubs v. Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 2 was a classic match-up of two teams bringing their A-game defensively. I was stressed out watching a game that felt like it could go either way. Going into the bottom of the 9th, it was a 1-1 game and then Justin Turner happened.

  1. Game 2 paired two left-handers who brought it for 5 five innings. As I discussed in the NLDS, you know what you are getting early with Rich Hill. John Lester will probably go down as one of the best post-season pitchers in baseball history.
  2. Yasiel Puig is seeing tons of pitches. He walked two times. I was entertained by all his dancing instead of swinging at bad pitches. It must be annoying to the other team or their fans. I am sure I would hate it if he were on the other teams as much as I don’t like some Javier Baez’s antics.
  3. Wilson Contreras has a canon for an arm. The Dodgers don’t appear as aggressive on the bases with Contreras behind the plate.
  4. Addison Russell is a Dodger-killer. He has four post-season home runs and three of them are against the Dodgers. He is the guy who scares me coming to the plate with the game on the line because he is a Dodger-killer.
  5. Rich Hill’s five innings was as good as you can get from him. He had 8 strikeout and one mistake. Just as I said about Kershaw, the Dodgers didn’t need Hill to do more.
  6. The fifth inning was where all the action occurred until the 9th inning. Russell hit his blast in the top half. In the bottom half, Charlie Culbertson doubled. The Dodger decided to pinch hit instead of having Rich Hill lay down a bunt (which I thought and still think is a mistake). Fortuntately Justin Turner singled Culbertson home with two outs.
  7. In the 6th inning, Carl Edwards, Jr. and Brandon Morrow were lights out. Both handling the meaty parts of each team’s lineup. Morrow handled Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
  8. Kenley Jansen once again handled Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in the ninth. He struck out Bryant and hit Rizzo in the hand.
  9. I scratched my head when the Dodger sent Kyle Farmer to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. I guess Yasmani Grandal is really at the bottom of the Dodgers’ barrel when it comes to hitting.
  10. 29 years to the day of Kirk Gibson’s famous home run in 1988, Justin Turner hit a game-winning 3-run home run. I remember Gibbie’s home run and we all know teams need a little bit of luck to win the series.

10 Thoughts on the NLCS Game 1 – Chicago Cubs v. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers dominated the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NLCS. I was nervous coming into this game. The Dodgers have made it to the NLCS in three of the last five years. I have always felt they had what it takes but they came up short. I left the game quietly confident they are going to make a run.

  1. It was Kershaw Day, and while it was not vintage Kershaw, he pitched well enough to keep the Dodgers in the game. He pitched around Anthony Rizzo and he served up a meatball to Albert Almora, Jr. for a home run. He pitched five inning and it seemed weird to see him sitting in the sixth. Something you realize about this year’s version of the Dodgers is that they don’t need super-human Kershaw.
  2. Kris Bryant has a canon for an arm. Watching him throw from his position at third base to first base, I was more than impressed.
  3. Kike Hernandez hit in the clean-up spot for the missing Cory Seager. Kike was an interesting pick for clean-up. He hits left-handed pitching very well; but clean-up seemed presumptuous.
  4. Logan Forsythe is still hot from NLDS. His was a crucial part of the Dodger scoring innings.
  5. Albert Almora, Jr. smashed a home run which felt like a game-breaker. He mashes left-handed pitching.
  6. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale had an interesting strike zone that was hard to figure out all game. All the players want is consistency…he was not.
  7. Yasiel Puig is poised to take over another series. His double and homerun were vintage Puig. I have never seen him play better. His bat-flip on a double was ridiculous; but it also makes a boring sport a little more entertaining.
  8. Chris Taylor, who should have gotten MVP consideration if you ask me, hit a bomb to put the Dodgers ahead 3-2 and they never looked back.
  9.  The controversial play at the plate shows a change in baseball which is hard for a purist to swallow. I watched Culbertson be denied home-plate and it felt wronf that a guy who never touched the base should be safe.
  10. Kenley Jansen got a four out save to lock down the game. What is more impressive is that he struck out Bryant and Rizzo to get his save.