I saw one play that disappointed me, and that was an outfielder who appeared to approach a run-scoring hit with half effort, but can you blame one play? The offense was putrid, but this game was about pitching. So maybe that means the target should be the pitching staff that gave up the run. Kyle Hendricks may not have had his best stuff, but he seemed to pull a rabbit out of a hat just about each inning en route to giving up…nothing.
Justin Grimm showed the constitution a Double 0 Agent in inducing his only ground ball double play of the entire 2016 season. Mike Montgomery and Pedro Strop were each up to the task. And hard to say that Carl Edwards Jr., a mid-season rookie call-up, wasn’t impressive pitching 2 tough innings and only giving up one squeaker to a pinch hitter. Of course, Aroldis Chapman did his thing in the ninth inning.
From a Cub perspective, there are positives to take away from this game. Without a doubt, they needed more innings out of Hendricks, but he pitched the first 4 1/3 innings, and for the first 4 1/3 innings the Cleveland Indians scored a grand total of zero runs.
The Cubs bullpen was lights out, going pitch for pitch against the vaunted Indians bullpen which was indeed vaunted, but the Cubs were every bit up to the task. There’s a reasonable argument that the Cubs bullpen was superior tonight. The Indians hit the ball all night, and for all of those hits, in the end, they finished with one stinkin’ run to show for it. They showed up driving their best performance car, and it was gassed, oiled and tuned; yet despite starting from the pole, they turned the key in the ignition and got nothing but a click. The Cubs bullpen finally gave up one run, to a pinch hitter, as so often things go in this great game of baseball. That all-important run was the difference between, to quote Harold Hill, “a gentleman and a bum.” But the final box score will echo the truth, that in the Runs Batted In column, which separates the men from the boys, each bullpen, and each starting roster mirrored one another. The biggest difference being that the Cubs seemed to have put all their eggs into the “Kyle Schwarber will bail us out,” basket.
I watched a lot of games this year, rarely have I been as impressed with the Cubs bullpen as I was tonight. And ultimately, Kyle Hendricks faced the first 4 1/3 hitters of the night the Indians could muster, and of those 4 and 1/3 hitters, not one crossed the plate to put a run on the board.
There’re been games this postseason where after I wanted to be a turtle, that could duck his head into his shell and cutout the outside world. Tonight, I don’t feel that way. Yes, tonight, our offense was putrid….but what’s worse, not making any contact at all….or making good contact all night long and being neutered almost every last time when putting in a position to score a single run. Finally, a pinch hitter drove in a run…but the Indians starters didn’t earn an RBI.
In the end, if Baez had smoked a double and the Cubs get two runs and win…everyone would be praising the Cubs and bashing the Indians. As it is, the Cubs look inept, the Indians, well they’re in the catbird’s seat.
It truly is a game of inches… If the Indians offense wants to pat themselves on the back, that’s their perogative….but I don’t see they should feel all that good about what they did. Their biggest accomplishment was getting a run, against a helluva pitching staff, top to bottom. I reckon our pitching staff showed more guts than did their’s. They just didn’t get the bounce, and the Indians did…. overall it was two teams that are very similar, and as evenly matched as it comes. Game 2, we won big, and left darn near 15 runs on base…..
Funny game this baseball.