Cubs Road To Repeat – Game 4 Live Blog
Alright let’s get down to fucking business. I think barstool engineers (lol that’s such a funny phrase) just deleted my first draft of this so let’s cut the bullshit and get to the game. The pregame stuff is already posted in a separate blog. This is solely dedicated to in game observations and analysis.
Nats – Arrieta needs to pitch to contact. Can’t go to multiple 3-2 counts in the first inning. That’s just playing with fire at a time in the year you definitely do not want to be playing with fire. That simple.
Cubs – Strasburg showing all of his pitches this early in the game isn’t smart. His changeup is filthy but he rarely uses it to get an out other than a strikeout. Compare that to Hendricks using the change up to get weak contact. What’s better? A weak groundout to shortstop or a swing and a miss? Almost 99% of the time you’d rather have the weak grounder to shortstop. Anyways, Strasburg just does too much on the mound trying to get swings and misses. He’s not a PITCHER the way I talk about pitchers. He just has the filthiest stuff on the planet. I don’t care. I’m hungry and it’s time to eat.
Also, Bryant and Rizzo are going to shit on him 2nd time through. They both struck out but they saw everything.
Nats - Arrieta NEEDS to pitch to contact. You cannot pussy foot around with 3 ball counts and walking guys with 2 outs. It is a horrible strategy but so far so good. Jake is starting to calm down. He needs a clean 3rd to set up a manageable 4th if that makes sense.
Cubs – It’s only a matter of time until Strasburg is throwing beach balls. I’m as confident about that as anything. Contreras hits a ball hard to short. Zobrist hits a missile down the right field line. Russell hit a ball into orbit that got pushed back by the strongest leftfield wind in MLB (normal day that ball is literally in Wisconsin air space). So much consistent hard contact this inning which is a big indicator for a guy like Strasburg that things aren’t 100%.
Also, Strasburg is the guy if you get 2-3 early you pretty much might as well have 7-8 early. He tends to explode.
Good sign = Heyward sees 9 pitches and walks. That’s literally INSANE to me. Strasburg is soooooooo fucking good but somehow walks Heyward because all Strasburg wants to do is strike hitters out. Great if you are in high school. Horrible if you’re pitching at Wrigley today.
And as I type that, Javy swings at a 1-0 slider that bounces in the other batters’ box before bouncing back to Strasburg for the 3rd out.
Bad news is it’s 0-0. Good news is that Strasburg looks like dogshit and is at 38 pitches already.
Nats – Trea Turner records his first hit of the series after starting 0-13 with a 1-out double down the left field line. He’s fast as fuck and Arrieta does not hold the running game well, but I doubt Turner finds the opportunity to try and steal third in an elimination game hitting in front of Bryce. And as I type that Arrieta throws a wild pitch advancing Turner to 3rd. So now it’s runner on 3rd, 1 out and a 2-2 count to Werth.
This is the Nats first major scoring opportunity of the game. Let’s see how it goes.
Spoiler Alert: not well (for Addison Russell and the Cubs)
Jayson Werth k’s looking at a perfect slider from Jake on 3-2 for the 2nd out. That’s good. Then Jake walks Bryce for the second time. That’s not not good, if that makes sense but still not good. So runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs is kind of scary, but Ryan Zimmerman batting cleanup is not. Even so, a routine slow roller to short is too much for Russell to handle and the Nats take a 1-0 lead. Arrieta bounces back by setting Daniel Murphy down on strikes but damage is already done.
1-0 bad guys.
Cubs – Strasburg strikes out the side putting down Arrieta, Jay and KB. Woof. At the same time, we do our damage in the even innings so I’m not worried about this at all. It’s nothing that can’t be solved with a few rally cigs.
Nats – Rendon is awesome at hitting. He smokes a double to left. Fuck me. If Arrieta has a long, ugly inning I feel like this is how it usually starts. Fortunately, Matt Wieters absolutely sucks at hitting so his easy fly to left is the 1st out.
Jake then walks Michael Taylor before giving up a SAC bunt to Strasburg. 2 outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd.
Its pretty clear Jake doesn’t have the best feel for his stuff today. He’s missing spots horizontally meaning inside and outside which is rare for him. Usually it’s up and down. And as I type that he walks Trea Turner, his 5th of the game, on just 4 pitches. Somewhere Scott Boras moans.
That brings Jayson Werth to the plate with the bases loaded. It is the top of the 4th inning and I am losing hair as I type this. My heart and soul is not conditioned to October baseball the way it needs. Jake Arrieta picks me up though by putting Werth down on strikes. Bases juiced and Werth comes up empty handed. I sincerely hope he does not have this opportunity again.
Also, 5 walks is 5 too many. Being down 1-0 right now is fantastic news as it could be much worse at this point. Need Rizzo big here to have a great at bat to open the bottom of the 4th.
Cubs – Rizzo strikes out swinging. That’s 4 K’s for our 2 best hitters in their first 2 ABs. Strasburg you dog you.
*Camera cuts to Lester warming up*
WE GOT OURSELVES A BALL GAME FOLKS.
Strasburg is throwing the absolute shit out of his changeup. It’s infuriating because it’s really really good right now and that’s the equalizer in October. Even so, Strasburg gets a dribbler from Contreras and promptly skips it out of play so Contreras goes to second with 1 out but not before bear hugging the 1st base bag on a headfirst slide. He looks like he just got hit in the balls and I don’t blame him. That was a horrific slide.
Zobrist K’s on a change piece. Strasburg double-dipped on the change after getting to 1-1 on Zo and again the changeup looks unhittable. As I type that Strasburg throws a 0-0 changeup to Russell for a first pitch swinging strike. And as I type that, he does it AGAIN. 0-2 and Strasburg has thrown 4 straight changeups. Nevermind the fact that TBS isn’t talking about it. I’M TALKING ABOUT IT. Btw where the fuck is John Smoltz?
In any event, Russell strikes out on – you fucking guessed it – a change up down. We head to the 5th and it’s 1-0 Nats.
Nats - Big Jon Lester comes in for Arrieta which is a SMART BULLPEN MOVE. You heard it here. Smart bullpen move. Arrieta was all over the place and I have zero interest letting him work on his command 3rd time through the lineup. I love you Jake but I gotta ride with the team on this one.
In other news, Lester puts the Nats down in order with impeccable fastball command. Home plate umpire Laz Diaz does his best to get in the way, but our cancer surviving World Series champion leader doesn’t give a fuck. It’s a 1-0 ball game with the Cubs gaining some momentum on that 1-2-3 inning from Big Jon.
Cubs – lead off single by Heyward erased with a Javy Baez 6-4-3 double play. Lester taps out to Trea Turner to end it. This could have been a very big inning even for one run but it’s completely wasted. Cubs go 1-2-3 to start next inning and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Kyle Schwarber sighting around the corner. The stage is practically setting itself for him to win this game. Just saying.
Nats – Lester is dealing and it’s time to eat. Lets go fellas. Give me one run one time.
Cubs – Jon Jay grounds out and I’m scratching my head if maybe that was the spot for Happ or Schwarber. That’s armchair quarterback stuff but in the moment I imagine Joe wants the experience trying to work his way on over someone trying to hit a ball into Lake Michigan in these British Open conditions. Kris Bryant follows with his 3rd strikeout and NO FREAKING OUT GUYS. He’s the MVP remember? Anthony Rizzo earns a pretty cocky walk but Contreras can’t make it hurt. Nats lead 1-0. Still. Fuck.
Nats – Lester remains perfect while again dragging his large smooth balls all over Wrigley Field. Absolutely amazing stuff from the big man. Like I don’t know if you guys understand just how awesome he has been with the fastball and how proud that makes me as a huge fan. Biggest moment of the year and he’s casually working 1-2-3 inning after 1-2-3 inning. Just need to get the offense alive.
Cubs – Zobrist pulls a little league move on 3-1 with the fake bunt. Rizzo did it in the 6th but at least he had a shift to work with. Zobrist has been smoking the ball. It’s 3-1 in a 1-0 ball game and he’s fake bunting. I don’t get the guy for A LOT of reasons. Russell and Heyward follow by looking pathetic.
I’ll admit it. I was wrong about Strasburg. Cubs trail 1-0 heading to the 8th.
Nats – Lester’s balls are still on the mound. Like CJ had to step over them on his way to the dugout after walking the bases loaded. But none of it really matters because somehow, someway, the Nationals find a way to hit a grand slam after having 2 outs and bases empty. I’m barfing on my computer as I type this and it’s disgusting. I’m disappointed. Not mad. Disappointed.
Games not over though LETS FUCKING GO