It’s another game that’s simply beyond me or any other writer. There are too many moments, too many decisions, too many things that could have gone anywhere. We could be here for hours. Fuck, we’ve already been here for hours. Four and a half of them, to be exact. That’s how long it took. But hey, we should try our best, right? We’ll try sequentially?
-After the top of the 1st, I was already envisioning the Heyward takes, some of which I would have authored. The Cubs struck first, and early for once, but Heyward missed the chance to blow it open early. You couldn’t possibly sense how that would matter, you just knew there was a decent chance it might.
-I mentioned in the preview that those how fixate on the margin for error for Kyle Hendricks would never relax tonight. And the 2nd inning was a clear example of that. It’s not that Hendricks couldn’t throw strikes. He couldn’t throw the strikes that he needed. Murphy’s homer came off a cutter that bled over the plate. Singles to Rendon and Wieters were too middle-middle. Taylor’s homer off a pitch that was supposed to be inside but was outside. At this point you were begging for Hendricks to be pulled, because the game couldn’t get too far away.
-Then the Cubs start scratching away. And the Nationals turn into what the Nationals turn into when a series is being decided. And again, Heyward comes up with a chance to make a difference… and doesn’t. The takes are growing.
-Hendricks comes out for the third and the embolism isn’t too far away. But he negotiates the inning quite cleanly.
-The bottom of the 4th could be considered a turning point. If there weren’t 87 other turning points in this game. But a beleaguered Hendricks comes out, and he’s got pretty much nothing. And we’re all screaming for him to come out. Zimmerman comes out with two men on and two out. And the first pitch he gets is this MEAT:
And he flied it harmlessly to left. That should have been heading near Baltimore. It would have ended this as a contest, you’d think. And the Cubs caught a break.
-Then it all goes haywire. The Cubs generate a two-out rally against only Max Scherzer because of course, why wouldn’t you? It includes a genuine single, a Texas-leaguer, a double from Russell to put the Cubs up for good because that’s this thing he does in the playoffs, and then an intentional walk TO JASON HEYWARD, a dropped third strike with reaching 1st and an error that might have been interference, a catcher’s interference, a HBP, and Bryant missing out on a chance to end it all right there, basically. Did we miss anything?
I’m already tired.
-So basically from there it was about could the Cubs pen not walk enough hitters to keep the lead. And man did they try.
Strop coming out totally made sense. And he had things where they should be, until he walks Jayson Werth, who the Cubs didn’t seem to realize can’t hit the ball to the warning track all series. So that necessitates Montgomery, who couldn’t find the plate either. The decision was correct, but Joe can’t help ABSOLUTELY NO ONE being able to find the plate. Thankfully Wieters was waiting.
I’m having a stroke again.
-The only other decision…no, scratch that, there are two decisions I’m angry about. One came before this series even started. That was not putting Hector Rondon on the roster for Leonys Martin, who provides nothing. Because the Cubs needed another righty tonight and they didn’t have it. As sketchy as Rondon has been for most of the year, he was good to end it and he could have gotten Taylor out to start the 7th. Then he’d just have Lobaton and Turner to negotiate. Instead it all needed Quintana then Davis, who just had to gut it out.
But I don’t complain about seven outs from Davis. He’s the best you got, and you go out that way. And it worked.
I don’t know what else there is. The Cubs won because they’re better at winning these things than the Nationals are. Or they’re extremely lucky. Or both. Or baseball is just weird. I know guts played a part. And I know they’re may be nothing left for the next round. And I know right now I don’t care.