As Matt Carpenter’s deep fly sailed well beyond the range of Dexter Fowler in center field and up into the berm in the bottom of the first inning, I’ll confess I had some concerns. Although it was mostly just typical “runs are relatively scarce in the playoffs, and that run helps the Cardinals” stuff, it was also a little bit of “are the Cubs going to just keel over against the Cardinals, and give new life to all the Cubs/Cardinals BS that has floated around for years and finally started to subside recently?”
And then the Cubs scored five runs the next inning.
Indeed, they didn’t just score five runs, they scored five in a way that would have looked completely familiar were the shoe on the other foot – some dribblers, some bunts, an error, and then a two-run homer to cap it off.
Certain feelings abated, and I was left – like most of you – with a much more routine panicked-about-the-ultimate-outcome feeling.
Kyle Hendricks had some good stuff working, but his mistakes (three of them, to be specific) got absolutely punished. Fortunately those were the only three runs the Cardinals scored.
The Cubs had men at first and third with one out in the 7th, and the Cardinals went to recently-returned arm Adam Wainwright. In a perfect display of just how cruel baseball can be sometimes, each of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro smoked the ball, and each resulted in an out. Rizzo lined one to Matt Carpenter, and Castro blistered one up the middle on which Kolten Wong admitted made an absurdly good snag.
The bullpen made it all stand up, though, with great outings from Travis Wood and Trevor Cahill, in particular.
Now the Cubs go back to Wrigley Field tied 1-1, with Jake Arrieta set for Monday. Beautiful.
Also beautiful? This guy: