It was impossible not to feel the deja vu.
The Cubs took an early lead in the first inning. The Cardinals responded relatively early. The Cubs pushed their lead to a healthy margin, and the offense looked very capable. They got the starting pitcher out. And then the Cardinals kept moving the line. They scored some absurd runs, a couple of which came thanks to Cubs mistakes. Then Pedro Strop was wild, and the Cardinals cut the Cubs’ lead to just one going into the 9th. Then the leadoff hitter reached against Hector Rondon, who hadn’t pitched in five days. Then the Cardinals had runners at the corners and just one out.
You have seen this movie. She gets stabbed in the shower. Every. Single. Time.
But then … Rondon struck out Mark Reynolds. And then … Jhonny Peralta grounded one to Starlin Castro … who bobbled it. But then … he threw it quickly to second, got the force, and the game was over.
The Cubs … won. They took a lead, they grew the lead, they held the lead, and they won.
Meanwhile, Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, but mostly he was protecting the long-term approach of his young hitters who were facing strike calls on pitches well, well off the outside edge. I was impressed, because it was a very savvy thing to do (and right in the moment, too).
Anthony Rizzo continues to do incredible things. Jon Lester had a mixed outing, but there was a lot of wackiness behind him that kept a real rhythm from developing.
All in all, it was a good enough win. But, man, it felt like a hell of a lot more …
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