Crud. In a short series, dropping the first game makes it pretty tough, because then you’ve got to win three of the next four games. The Cubs can do it, of course, but, yeah, it’s tough.
Dexter Fowler’s 354-foot fly ball in the top of the 6th was a quintessential baseball moment, as, if it had only been 357 feet, the Cubs would have taken a 2-1 lead. As it stood, the Cardinals maintained their 1-0 lead. The difference between victory and defeat can be so very small in a single game.
It wasn’t the difference in this one, but you take my meaning.
The Cubs managed a leadoff single the next inning, too – a bunt from Kyle Schwarber against the shift – but he it was erased on a double play off of Anthony Rizzo’s bat. The ball was struck decently well, but right at first base, where Mark Reynolds was already standing because he’d been holding Schwarber. It was frustrating.
Thereafter, the Cardinals added three runs in the 8th on a couple homers, and the game went out of reach, which, for me, in a perverse way, actually made it less frustrating. It went from a game where I was going to obsess about every tiny thing that could have been the difference – like the Fowler fly ball or the Rizzo grounder – to a game where I was like, “Yeah, that’s just a flat out loss.”
It’s kind of a shame how it went in that inning, by the way, because it might obscure for some people just how good Jon Lester was in the game.
It’s also a shame that two of those runs came on a homer given up by Pedro Strop, who continues to have some kind of weird performance problem specifically against the Cardinals.
In the end, I come back to the “crud” thing. It just sucks to lose this first game, especially when the match-up looked better for the Cubs than tomorrow’s Hendricks-Garcia pairing. But, hey, the Pirates lost a game 4-0 earlier this week and their season was over …