"We light up the old dudheen and sigh with joy as the conflict opens."
If you’ve read this site for any length of time, you know that cherry-picked statistics often do more harm than good when it comes to player evaluation. When used to appreciate the Cubs’ long and tortuous path to their next World Series title, however, they tell a different story altogether.
Cleveland earned the Game 4 win, but Chicago's uncharacteristic miscues defensively helped too.
Errors are not the best way to measure a fielder’s quality. You know that. I know you know that. But still, here’s a fact for you: Kris Bryant committed just 14 errors all season, and only 12 at third base. Among players with as many innings at the position, that was the fourth-lowest total in the National League. He wasn’t spectacular, but he wasn’t bad, either—and he certainly defied expectations that he’d be unable to maneuver his 6-foot-5 frame into passable defense at the hot corner.
Breaking down Game 4, which saw the Indians out-play the Cubs and Terry Francona out-manage Joe Maddon.
Game 4 was anything but a managerial chess match at Wrigley Field, as the Indians jumped out to an early lead and broke things open for good in the seventh inning on the way to a 7-2 win that puts the Cubs on the brink of elimination. However, there were no shortage of interesting pregame and midgame decisions on which to chew, including some that could have an impact in Game 5 and, if the Cubs win Sunday, beyond.
Despite all the pregame talk of 30-40 mph wind blowing out at Wrigley for Game 3, runs were in short supply Friday night on the north side of Chicago. The only run of the game came on a pinch-hit RBI single by Coco Crisp. Starter Josh Tomlin and the formidable Cleveland bullpen combined to shut out Chicago for the second time in three games, leaving the Cubs and their fans wondering whether their offense will be making an appearance in the Fall Classic.
Coco Crisp, back in Cleveland, was the unexpected hero in Game 3.
The Indians acquired Coco Crisp on August 31 in a trade so low profile that the phrase “under the radar” might be charitable. Going back to Oakland was Colt Hynes, a 31-year-old minor-league reliever whom Cleveland had purchased for cash considerations just a few weeks earlier. Oakland used Hynes to bolster the playoff roster of Triple-A Nashville, while Crisp was brought in to Cleveland as a candidate to take the roster spot of reserve outfielder Abraham Almonte, ineligible to participate in the playoffs due to a spring PED suspension.
For the first time since October 10, 1945--when Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Hal Newhouser blew out the Cubs in the deciding seventh game--Wrigley Field will be home to a World Series game. Three of them, in fact, as a weekend full of baseball in Chicago kicks off tonight. Tickets are still available, assuming you're willing to sell your first born, ink a deal with the devil, and stand for nine innings next to some other crazed and significantly less financially stable Cubs fans. It'll be an amazing environment.
Game 2 won't be displayed in any museums, and in particular Lonnie Chisenhall would probably like to forget it ever happened.
Let’s all admit something: Game 2 was a clunker. This game was the first car you have in high school. You’re pleased to have a car, because any car in high school is great, but every time you pick up your friends you worry it won’t start and you’ll need a tow. It’s better than the rusty bike you had, which also was better than walking, but if a rich kid in your class drove by, you’d feel self-conscious.
I like people watching, and I suspect I’m not alone. People watching is the only reason anyone likes going to IKEA, and the reason you want to leave IKEA as quickly as possible. It turns out folks can be terrible in small but significant ways when parenting while picking out furniture. People, when they don’t know they are being observed, do all sorts of funny, kind, and awful things. Often they just do human things, like take soda refills they didn’t pay for, or pick up things for a stranger who has dropped them without being asked, or suddenly smirk when they’ve remembered something funny but private. Other people are just like us.
Indians ace Corey Kluber was masterful in his first career World Series start, giving the Cubs no chance to beat him.
There are certain games in the postseason, particularly in the World Series, whose results seem scripted from the first pitch. I’m not trying to suggest that the postseason is rigged or anything fishy, of course; it’s more that some games have a feeling of inevitability about them. Baseball is a sport that, if nothing else, is wont to punish feelings of inevitability with wild upsets, but even here, there are those games that, in the third inning, make you sit back and say “Yeah, I think I see where this one is going.”