I’m just trying to stay in the “excited” range. Of course I’m nervous today, too. But I no longer fear the Cubs getting dumped out of the playoffs quickly after such an enormous regular season. Sure, there could be other ugly narratives that develop should the Cubs lose a couple games this weekend, but they’re here. They have two chances to win the NL pennant, and that’s right where this team deserves to be. It could happen tonight, and I can’t freaking wait. That is to say: I’m way more excited right now for what could happen than I am nervous about what might not happen.
I’ll be at the game in Section 142 (along the right field line, by the foul pole, in the grandstand, not the bleachers), and at
Yak-Zies on Clark Full Shilling before the game if you want to stop in and say hey.
After the game? Here’s hoping I’m floating away on a cloud of impossible joy …
- Well, it was the comparison we heard people draw for years, and against which I always pushed back as unfair to Kyle Hendricks, but now it has come full circle. After leading baseball in ERA in 2016, tonight’s NLCS Game Six starter is being compared once again to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux … by Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. To be fair, in the ESPN piece, Maddux is not saying Hendricks is the next him or anything like that, but he does discuss how the two are similar (mostly in their ability to throw the two-seamer to both sides of the plate against batters on either side of the plate). Maddux, of course, threw quite a bit harder when he was Hendricks’ age, but the movement, sequencing, cerebral stuff has always been a fair comparison. It’s just that comparing *any* player to an upper-tier Hall of Famer risks a whole lot of unfairness down the road. I think it’s cool to see Maddux (and Clayton Kershaw, in that article) talking about Hendricks, but, for now, I’m just geeked about Hendricks being Hendricks.
- As for that, Hendricks gave up just the one solo homer last time out in Game Two of the series, and obviously you’d be over the moon with a similar performance tonight. His command was not quite pristine in that one, but he’s so good at keeping hitters off balance that it can still work (especially if the rare hard-hit ball he gives up comes with the bases empty). And if you’re looking for Hendricks to suddenly lose his even keel, don’t count on it (Cubs.com). He knows it’s a big moment and could be a very tight game, but Hendricks isn’t the type to get out of doing what he does just because of what’s going on around him.
- Something to note on the guy on other side:
Since 2015 Clayton Kershaw has thrown 937 curveballs…. He's only thrown 3 when he's been behind in the count pic.twitter.com/AJjemptlZc
— Daren Willman (@darenw) October 22, 2016
- So … don’t even think about the curveball if you happen to get ahead in the count?
- This ESPN piece has a stat about the would-be four starters in tonight’s and tomorrow’s games that I have to share: “[H]ere are the four pitchers with the lowest ERAs since Aug. 15, 2015, including the postseason (minimum 20 starts): Kershaw (1.85), Hill (2.13), Arrieta (2.57) and Hendricks (2.60).”
- A great read from Wayne Drehs on how some of the oldest Cubs fans are following the games and getting ready for what might happen.
- Bill Murray crashed a White House press conference to talk about the Cubs. Yup. That happened.
- I’m not sure if this section of Amazon shows the same stuff to everyone, or different stuff based on your shopping habits, but boy are there some weird “here’s interesting stuff we picked for you” on mine. For example, a cat record player toy scratch thing. OK, I guess they know me a little.