Ill-timed-but-it’s-today-only-so-I-gotta-do-it housekeeping item: there’s a sale at the BN store today (and today only) – 15% off of everything. Just enter the code OCTOBER15 at checkout.
- While I don’t want to believe this could be the last day of the Cubs’ season, I acknowledge the reality of that possibility, and shift my focus back to actual baseball. Coming back in this NLCS is, obviously, going to be incredible difficult for the Cubs. But, as we know, they’ve had long winning streaks – even against good teams – many times before this season. Is it really so hard to imagine that the Cubs could win tonight by smacking around Steven Matz, and then could get a great start from each of Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta? I wouldn’t call all three things happening in succession likely, but, come on, of course it’s possible. And if it did happen, well, then, boom, you’ve got yourself a Game Seven.
- That’s the thing about today: it’s fine to acknowledge that the Cubs are unlikely to come back in this series. Teams generally do not when they’re down 3-0. But there’s no real point in actually giving up today when there’s still a game to be played, and the Cubs might win it. Maybe you think that’s just me being relentlessly positive, but I actually think it’s pragmatic. There’s a game today that, if won, could prolong the Cubs’ season, and the Cubs very much have it within their ability to win that game. So, you know, I’ll watch and pull for it to happen. Why not?
- It would help, of course, if Jason Hammel finally busts out a surprising, first-half-like performance.
- Theo Epstein was quick to point out after the loss that the Cubs have had winning streaks of four or more games nine different times this year (Cubs.com). I’m not sure they all came against a team playing – and pitching – as well as the Mets right now, but the point stands. The Cubs are legitimately quite good, and sometimes they just get really, really hot. I suspect the Mets don’t want to see the Cubs show any life whatsoever by winning today.
- Setting all that aside, and turning back to the loss in Game Three, I have a hard time taking too much away from these first few games beyond “the Mets have played really well, the Cubs have played less well and also haven’t gotten much good luck.” To me, this doesn’t look like a case of the moment being too big for a young team, or a lack of “clutch.” It just looks like three baseball games where the team that played better actually won the game. Were this a stretch in mid-May, it would barely register as a blip. Hell, this Cubs team lost three in a row to the worst team in baseball back in late July. It happens. But, since it’s happening in the NLCS, I think we try to make too much of it (probably because we wanted to believe, in the other direction, that if the Cubs were winning, it was a matter of true talent and destiny and all that stuff, when it’s really just a roll of the dice in such a short time frame).
- Joe Maddon discusses the defensive plays – or misplays – that hurt the Cubs in Game Three, though he says they were tough plays (Cubs.com).
- Maddon and Miguel Montero on the missed third strike that allowed the Mets to take the lead (CSN).
- I’m positive and ready for today’s game, mind you, but getting up this morning was tough …
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) October 21, 2015