Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jaime garcia cardinalsThe loss last night made me feel sad. But I do have to remind myself that, without losses that bum me out, wins like the Wild Card Game on Wednesday don’t feel as incredibly awesome. That’s baseball, that’s life, and that’s why we are compelled to keep following and watching.

Not that it makes me feel better about the loss, itself. Only a win today could do that.

  • Don’t expect to read about any panic with this Cubs team after the Game One loss. They’ll discuss what happened – as they do here at CSN, or here at – but they get over it, they move on, and they focus on today’s Game Two. I, myself, don’t feel too panicked either, though I suppose if today’s game doesn’t go too well, I’ll probably feel the concern.
  • Although he’s a lefty, Jaime Garcia is tougher on righties, and he induces an enormous number of groundballs. He doesn’t walk guys, either, so, at least in those respects, get ready for a game that could look a lot like last night’s. Being “patient” is not necessarily an approach that works against Garcia – instead, you generally have to do damage when he misses a spot or is up in the zone, whether it’s on pitch one or pitch five. Don’t be the person who rips the Cubs because they ground into a lot of outs early in counts today. That’s how you’re supposed to attack Garcia, and sometimes he’ll get groundballs because he’s really dang good at it.

  • One thing that’s better today than yesterday: unlike Lackey, Garcia does fare much worse the third time through the order than the first two (.514 OPS against the first time through, .476 the second time through, and .751 the third time through). Again, you can’t necessarily work a guy’s pitch count when he’s always in the zone, but if the Cubs can put some runners on and extend innings that way, they could have a lot of success in the middle innings.
  • (It’s extremely clear why the Cardinals elected to go with Lackey and Garcia in these first two games, by the way. Just flat out bad match-ups for this Cubs’ offense’s style.)
  • In addition to the strike zone stuff, which I discussed earlier, the other thing I saw some folks grousing about last night during the game was John Lackey going to his forearm and/or mouth before grabbing and rubbing down the ball. The implication there was that he was somehow using a substance he shouldn’t have been, but let’s be very clear about this: whether it was a little sunscreen or his own sweat or dirt or rosin or a non-excessive amount of saliva or – most likely – a mix of all of those things, pitchers do their best to get a good grip on the ball. As long as a pitcher isn’t actively doctoring a baseball or isn’t egregiously using a substance for movement, my understanding is that many pitchers do this kind of thing. If you start aiming your phasers at Lackey last night, you’re probably not going to be too happy about where else you find people looking.

  • Folks also didn’t much care for Chris Coghlan being left in to face lefty Kevin Siegrist in a key spot late in the game, but that was another thing that just didn’t rile me up too much – Siegrist has destroyed righties this year, and been blown up by lefties. There’s certainly an argument that Coghlan’s own lack of facing lefties should have trumped Siegrist’s splits, but, at most, that’s an argument to make for a good discussion – not an argument to make Joe Maddon’s decision look entirely unreasonable.
  • Stephen Colbert tries to do his part for the Cubs, though I’ll say right here that, even in good humor, I’m not super into goat-related stuff these days. (Phrasing. Sorry.)
  • A fun read on the dwindling supply of jersey letters ‘A’ and ‘R’ thanks to Jake Arrieta and Kyle Schwarber.
  • Playoff Miscellany from earlier, including the Mets jumping out to a 1-0 lead over the Dodgers.

META: If you follow BN on Twitter, you’ve likely become accustomed to the “ICYMI” (in case you missed it) tweets. Some folks find them unnecessary, but the truth is, Twitter is so fast-moving that most people really appreciate them – indeed, sometimes you do miss stuff. As a huge help to me, those tweets are automated (essentially, they’re scheduled to go out automatically after a certain period of time when the post is originally published), because doing it manually would be logistically impossible.

Occasionally, that leads to goofs – something gets inadvertently sent back out that’s no longer useful is the most common example (like a Pre-Gamin’ for a game that ended hours ago). Last night, there was another example: something gets auto-tweeted at a particular tone deaf time, like a post about Eddy Julio Martinez just as the Cubs and Cardinals are moving into the later innings of a playoff game. It was all automatically set up six hours earlier and it’s Cubs relevant, so I don’t feel particularly bad about the oopsie – I deleted the tweet when I saw it – but, boy, it REALLY pissed off a person or two on Twitter. (It also annoyed me because, in the interim, additional Martinez info came out – more on that later – which made the Tweet a little stale.) I assume they were mostly taking out their Cubs-related frustration on me, which, whatever, but I still thought I should mention this in case it bothered any of you.

All of this is to say: if you see an ICYMI tweet that doesn’t make a ton of sense, now you know why. I do my best to avoid them within the confines of what is realistic.

Obligatory plug: everything I do on the BN Facebook page is entirely manual, all by me, so there is never any tone deafness! You should totally like BN on Facebook! You’ve been tricked! This entire META section was an ad for the BN Twitter and BN Facebook page!

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