Tonight's Big Game, Edwards' Leg, Lackey's Pull, and Other Bullets

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Tonight’s Big Game, Edwards’ Leg, Lackey’s Pull, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

jon lester cubs featureAny X-Men fans out there? The trailer for “Logan” just dropped, and it’s about an aging Wolverine set to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt”, and it could potentially be awesome, and I didn’t see “Apocalypse” but I heard bad things, but I thought “Days of Future Past” was really awesome, but I didn’t much care for the other standalone Wolverine flicks, and I have conflicted feelings, but I’m gonna watch that trailer again.

OK. Done. I can no longer think about anything that isn’t Cubs baseball …

  • Speaking of which, I doubt we’ll be more tense for tonight’s Game Five of the NLCS, but the swing between up 3-2 and heading home with two cracks at winning the series, and down 2-3 with Clayton Kershaw starting the next game … it’s hard to think of a bigger swing game in the context of a seven-game playoff series, at least from a descriptive perspective. I’m gonna enjoy last night’s win for a few more hours, and then I’m probably going to begin slowly and methodically removing each of the hairs on my head. At least you’ve got to like the match-up, as we did in Game One – Jon Lester is a good fit against the Dodgers, and the Cubs’ bats are a good fit against Kenta Maeda. Not that baseball is ever that predictable – just remember what happened in that Game One. Hopefully Lester has as much success as he did in that one, even as he was pulled early because there was a lot of hard contact.
  • It is not to say that the Cubs didn’t go through a very protracted period of offensive struggle, but it’s worth reiterating that the runs total in this series is now Cubs 18, Dodgers 13. The sequences in which those runs were scored have led to a 2-2 series tie, and there’s always flukey stuff in short series, but there’s no secret sauce here – the Cubs are good. As I wrote yesterday, it won’t always manifest itself in that day’s results, but, over the long haul, it’s better to be good than, well, not.
  • Carl Edwards Jr. had something bothering him in his left leg last night, and was ultimately pulled from the game with hamstring tightness. Although Joe Maddon says it could have been a cramp, and they’ll know more today, Edwards was insistent last night that he’s fine ( Hopefully that’s the case, though we’ve been down this road before, where a player genuinely believes he’s fine, but the next day feels worse (or, more dangerously, is mostly fine, but has his performance altered juuuuust enough to not be as effective, even though he can play). If things go right this evening, the Cubs won’t need to lean on Edwards anyway, and he can at least get a couple more days of rest before Game Six. If a disabled list stint were required, the Cubs could add another arm to the pen, but Edwards would be out through the end of the playoffs.
  • John Lackey’s post-game comments, after being pulled in the top of the 5th inning with a 5-0 lead, were about what you’d expect – which is to say, he wasn’t going to go into detail, instead pointing out that it was a great team win. A pitcher is not going to want to get pulled from a game at that point, and I can understand and respect the competitive fire. Lackey showed everyone what he thought of the decision in the moment, after walking the first two batters to start the inning, and watching Joe Maddon strolling to the mound. In a different month of the year, or against a different lineup, the question Lackey was seen mouthing would be a legitimate one – but against these lefty-heavy Dodgers, in late October, no one is kidding anyone. It was absolutely the right decision by Maddon in that moment, and Lackey’s first four innings of work were greatly appreciated.
  • Willson Contreras helped Lackey out in the first inning by picking Justin Turner off of second base with his rocket arm. It was awesome. Contreras was also guilty of a second catcher’s interference this postseason (you rarely see that at all in a given year, let alone twice in the postseason). It makes you wonder if the Dodgers noticed something about Contreras’s setup, and specifically tried to take advantage:

  • Reddick was either trying to nip the glove there, or his swing was both out of whack and late. Certainly possible. Interesting either way, and something Contreras will have to avoid.
  • Anyone else notice that Julio Urias did not use his top pick-off move last night, instead going with a step off throw? There’s no way that was a coincidence after so much attention was put on his wow-that’s-two-balks-in-one move by Joe Maddon and others before the game.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.