Tuesday night’s game was like watching the Cubs grab their ankles to take a paddling, repeating after each thwack, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” Then again, that would mean they were making contact with something, however passively. When play was stopped briefly in the late innings due to a beach ball on the field, I hoped for a moment that home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom might allow it to be used in the game. Alas, he did not.
This makes two straight games in which the Cubs have been shut out, a funk made all the more frustrating by the late explosion in the series opener. Maybe Joe Maddon needs to pull one of his infamous stunts to loosen the team up and provide them some motivation moving forward. Since they’re in LA, I might suggest John Williams or Hans Zimmer. Maybe even Danny Elfman. You know, because those guys are really good at scoring.
I’m not sure if you can hear me over the din of the rimshot and the laugh track I just had installed, but I’m going to try to continue anyway. There are a couple things about both Game 3 and the series that I would like to get out of the way, perhaps as much for my own good as anything.
First, Rich Hill is a very good pitcher. Not that he didn’t look eminently beatable at the outset of the game or anything, just that he knows how to work his stuff and he generally gets stronger the deeper he goes. Seems like someone I know wrote about that recently. It is possible, however, for one to believe that Hill performed very well and that the Cubs looked like a blazing chemical spill at the plate. While those things are intrinsically bound, there’s a measure of mutual exclusivity involved too.
Hill made the Cubs look bad and they made him look good in return, but I’m not sure either needed the other in order to happen. Please don’t take that to mean that I’m saying the Cubs are doomed, far from it. It’s just that they were not going to hit Tuesday night absent a tee, or so it seemed. Maybe they come out against Julio Urias and hang 10. You can’t predict baseball. Unless you can, in which case you’d be Biff Tannen.
You don’t need me to tell you how to fan, so I won’t. Wanna curse this team for falling apart in the NLCS? Fine. Wanna be all rah-rah about their chances to push back into the series lead with a couple wins? Beautiful. All I’ll say is that I’m still confident in the Cubs’ ability to right the ship and start hitting. What’s weird is that I’m oddly serene about the whole thing, though that might have to do with the horse tranquilizers I’ve been mixing with my beer.
Long story short, the last two games have been about as fun to endure as a sedation-free colonoscopy. And who knows, maybe Julio Urias will be manning the roto-rooter Wednesday night as well. Or, you know, maybe he won’t. What’s my point here? I’m not sure I even remember any longer, other than to say that you should be worried about how the Cubs have played. You should also believe that they can play better. This is a long way from over.