Right before Game 1 of the NLDS, my wife asked me who was the favorite in the series. I said I didn’t know. So I punched it up on my phone…
I know this is supposed to be a good series; the Nationals are a really good team, and they have home field advantage. Why was I a bit surprised to see the Nationals favored then? The Cubs, underdogs? Five teams, including the Red Sox, had better or even World Series odds. Wow.
How quickly folks forget who the reigning champs are. That means a whole hell of a lot at this time of year; that experience is huge. Folks seem to forget who the best team in the National League was since the all star break. It wasn’t just 15 of the past 19; for the past almost 3 months, the Cubs have been, well, the Cubs. Yeah, it’s like that.
After seeing Strasburg mow the Cubs down with 8 pitches in the first inning, maybe we should have been worried. Nope, that’s the pre-2016 Cubs fan. Now, we think, it’s only a matter of time; we’ll get to them. And we did.
It was the guy who hasn’t made an error in forever that opened the door for us with a horribly sloppy play at 3B. An easy play…botched. That was all the Cubs needed. Oh yeah, we hadn’t had a hit yet, but when Baez made it to 2nd after the Hendricks sac bunt, the mighty Strasburg didn’t look so mighty. Zobrist finally didn’t swing at the first pitch, but couldn’t get the job done. That brought up Kris Bryant.
Did everybody forget who the reigning MVP is? He had a down year is what we hear. Check the stats; not too shabby. He’s not clutch is what some may say; people who don’t know shit. He promptly delivered the first hit of the game to score Baez. But wait there’s more. He took second and beat the throw even though Strasburg cut it off. Was that on his mind when Rizzo delivered the second hit of the game scoring the second run of the game? Does a healthy Harper make that catch? Not our problem. 2-0 Cubs.
And what about the bullpen? The last thing the mighty Nats needed to take the next step…to take the first step actually. Yeah, we scored an insurance run on one of their “big 3”. Meanwhile, Edwards and Davis absolutely slammed the door shut in the 8th and 9th. 10 more wins.
Of course I’m forgetting someone…and that would be Ice Man Kyle Hendricks. Some may have questioned why he was the starter in Game 1 of the NLDS; I didn’t. Game 6 NLCS last year, Game 7 World Series…this was a walk in the park. He, not Strasburg, was the ace that rose to the occasion. Seven innings of 2 hit shutout ball. Talk about inducing weak contact; this guy is a surgeon. I’m glad Jay didn’t get to bat in that top of the 7th; we were able to get three more big outs out of Hendricks. Bravo Kyle, bravo.
I don’t want to be that cocky Cubs fan; I really don’t. But I wasn’t worried after we were getting no hit for the first five innings. And when the Nationals cracked that door open, the Cubs kicked it down. There was a drop of blood in the water, and the Cubs attacked. This was an impressive win, but that should not surprise us…not with this Cubs team.
It is only one game though, but that pressure to win their first ever postseason series just ratcheted up a notch for Dusty’s boys. Meanwhile, the underdog Cubs will keep doing what we do. Playing solid as hell baseball. I couldn’t wait for tonight; I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t wait for tomorrow afternoon. Go Cubs!!!