Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cueto Down!

As I predicted, game one of the NLDS was a very low scoring game.  The Cubs came away with the 1-0 win after Javier Baez hit the go-ahead solo homer into the left field basket in the bottom of the 8th.  Johnny Cueto had been pitching great the entire game, but made a mistake to Baez, and paid for it with the hefty price of his team being down 1-0 in the NLDS.

I was wrong in a sense where I thought it would be a battle of he bullpens.  There were no runs allowed by the Cub's bullpen, and Johny Cueto went a complete game.  This is good new for both pitching staffs.  Both staffs have a pretty well rested bullpen going into game two.  The Cub's only pitched Chapman for one inning, and both Cueto and Bumgarner have pitched complete games for their respective games.

Now, taking a look at the bats from game one.

The Giants held the cubs to only three hits.  That's all the Cubs needed, though.  The Giants, however, out-hit the Cubs with six hits.  two of those where lead off base hits, one in the first, and one in the second.  Thanks to none other than grandpa Rossy for knocking both of those runners off of the base-paths with two great throws.  In the first, Ross threw Gorkys Hernandez out trying to steal 2nd.  In the second, he picked off Connor Gillaspie at first.  Very strong arm for someone who is set to retire.

Tomorrow's game will played at 7pm.  Kyle Hendricks will be facing off against Jeff Samardzija.  I would like to acknowledge how frustrating it would be for Jeff to lose to the Cubs tomorrow.  Keep in mind that Jeff pitched for the cubs from 2008-2014.  He has seen his fair share of bad Cub's team.  He actually had a stretch of the 2014 season where he had the best ERA in the league but was winless.  That just goes to show how terrible the bullpen was.  The cubs traded him to the Athletics the last time they were in "sell mode".  The season after they sold him, Jeff watched the Cubs make it the the NLCS.  Now he is pitching against them in the NLDS.

Hopefully the Cub's bats heat up a little bit tomorrow.  Tomorrow's game will be their best chance to win for a little bit.  After tomorrow's game, the Cub's will be traveling to San Francisco and facing Maddison Bumgarner.  That, in my opinion, is the Giant's game to win.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Here We Go

As I'm sure you know, game one of the NLDS is upon us.  The game starts at 8 CT at Wrigley Field, with the pitching matchup of Lester vs Cueto.  Although, I would have much rather seen the Cubs play the Mets (as expressed in my last post), the Giants will make for an exciting series.

With last year's very gratifying win in the NLDS vs. the Cardinals comes another opportunity to shut down another team who may look like they are destined to win.  The Giants have won the World Series for the last three even number seasons (2010, 2012, 2014).  It would be a really satisfying win if the Cubs could break that streak.

The Cubs are 4-3 vs. the Giants last year.  Five of the seven games were one run games.  That is a really good indicator that this series could easily go either way.  Both teams have solid bats and a very good pitching rotation.  Tonights pitching matchup is a solid indicator of that.  John Lester has an ERA of 2.44, and Johnny Cueto has an ERA of 2.79.  It is a solid bet that tonights game is going to be very low scoring.  The bullpens will have a huge role in the outcome of tonights game.

The Cub's bullpen has an ERA of 3.56, ranking 9th in the MLB.  If Lester can go deep in the game today, Chapman should be able to finish them off.  The Giants have an ERA of 3.65 ranking 15th in the MLB.  If the Cubs can do the Giants bullpen what they've been doing to so many bullpens all season, they should be in pretty good shape.

I will follow up tonight with some post game analysis and thoughts.  Enjoy game 1 everyone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Off Day Blues

In waiting for the first game of the NLDS to be played on Friday, I just figured I'd give you a few things to occupy your mind until then.

As you probably know, the AL wildcard game is today.  As Cub fans, I'm sure you all care more about the NL wildcard game which is tomorrow between the Mets and the Giants in New York.  The Cubs will be playing the winner of this game on Friday.  If I were the Cubs and able to choose which team to play in the NLDS, it would be the Mets.

I don't want to get into the season series against the Mets this year.  If last year's sweep of the season series vs. the Mets is any indication of the NLDS, well, you know what happened in last season's NLCS.

First off, there is no one on the team named Murphy (the same name of the billy goat who cursed the cubs in 1945, read more about it here) to kill us with home runs like last year's NLCS.  Superstitions aside, the Mets pitching staff has been plagued by injuries.  The top of the three in the rotation is looking like Syndergaard, DeGrom and Bartolo, which still isn't terrible.  However, it would be looking a lot better with Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zach Wheeler healthy.  If the Mets plan on playng more then three games, they are going to have to get creative.  It is looking like Syndergaard is going to be playing in the wildcard game, so the Mets will need good starts out of DeGrom and and Bartolo.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the potential pitching matchup between the Mets and the Cubs in Game one of the NLDS at Wrigley Field would be Hendricks vs. DeGrom.

Kyle hasn't had a head to head matchup with DeGrom this season, but he has faced the Mets once squaring off with none other than Bartolo Colon.  On July 20th, Kyle allowed 7 hits with 7 Ks over 6.1 innings, getting the win with a final score of 6-2.  That tells me that the Mets lineup have had only one look at him this season, and Kyle has the luxury of evaluating the lineup that got 7 hits against him, and coming back stronger and more efficient.

The Cubs have a healthy and producing pitching staff.  I feel like the Cubs will have a little more luck against the Mets and their banged up staff, especially after having played two day prior in the wildcard game.  The Cubs are getting all of the time that they need to get rested up and get their minds right for a hopefully successful post season.