Let’s not bury the lede here. There’s a temptation to throw your coffee table across the living room after yet another 8th inning acid-vomit, something we’ve become a little too familiar with this year. Most of it just feels like rotten luck, with a couple bad pitches and maybe one bad managerial decision thrown in. The real fear is that it could lead to other strange managerial decisions, as we know how quickly Maddon abandoned most of the bullpen last season.
But I don’t think it’s as bad as it seems. In the crucible of the Division Series though, where you might not get a game to toss away, it can feel crushing. So that’s the problem.
I don’t really have a problem with giving Carl’s Jr. the whole inning. He’s the most dominating reliever the Cubs have in front of Davis (we’ll get to that in a minute). He looked great last night, and was hardly overlooked. The hit Lind got was basically off his fists, or at least a good piece of hitting. That happens. So yeah, Edwards didn’t execute a curve. Maybe you could argue that an ailing Harper isn’t going to catch up to Edwards’s heat there, but if he successfully buries that curve we’re probably not talking about this. Just a mistake.
It’s from there that I have complaints. Montgomery in for Murphy makes sense, and again Murphy just slapping one the other way it the preferable outcome to what we’re used to seeing him do. But then you’ve got two on with one out and the whole game is right there. Yes, Monty hasn’t been terrible against righties but this is the whole game. Possibly a turning point in the series. I don’t think you can go down in that situation without your best.
You can’t save Weigh Davis for a save situation that you don’t know is coming. You can’t save him for a 9th inning that might not arrive either. Again, Monty has been good but the whole game, against what is probably the Nats’ second-most dangerous hitter, or maybe most dangerous, with Harper not at 100%. You have to have your best out there, and that’s Davis. Figure out extra-innings or a closer spot later. If it goes long that’s what I’m told Lackey being in the pen is for. I know Davis never comes in the middle of an inning and with runners on, but this is the time. Go down with your best.
So there’s my lament. But that said, Montgomery gave up what was essentially an easy fly-out on most other nights, because I don’t recall there usually being a wind-tunnel out to left in Nationals Park. Correct me if I’m wrong on Twitter but I don’t think it was hit that well. If that lands in Zobrist’s glove, we’re again not talking about this. Most every other night it does. What can you do?
-The other complaint would obviously be only getting three runs, except that should have been enough. It’s not like they blew a ton of chances. They had Baez at second but didn’t get him home. There are days when having Baez, Zobrist, and Happ in the lineup just means too many easy outs (pssst, Addison hasn’t hit for dick since he came back from injury either). That doesn’t mean these guys won’t pop at some point, but they’ll have their bad days too. Just have to roll with it.
-On the plus side Lester was really good, which is encouraging if we get to see him again. He only had the two strikeouts, but it’s not like he was benefitting from the BABIP Dragon either as he didn’t give up much hard contact at all.
-Now we just have to hope Maddon doesn’t lose his mind when the series comes home. Yeah, being tied 1-1 and having to see Scherzer isn’t ideal, but A. Scherzer hasn’t been automatic in the playoffs when fully healthy before and B. the Cubs just beat the guy who was pitching better than Scherzer at the end of the season. Yeah, it’s on a playoff-debut from Quintana and Arrieta’s hamstring. Well, the Nationals have to have an answer after Scherzer too, and the best one they might have is Strasburg on three days’ rest.
Nothing is fucked here, dude. Onwards…