I already wrote up a review of the other three games from yesterday, briefly, but I wanted to spend a little more time on the Cubbies.
First of all: RAISE THE W FLAG! I wasn’t expecting a game 1 win, but they took it and the magic number is now 10.
Kyle Hendricks was “lights out” for 7 shutout innings, giving up only 2 hits and 3 walks and now has a career post-season ERA of 1.98 and WHIP of 1.00 in the playoffs. That’s not top of the charts for active pitchers, but it’s pretty close for this 27 year old. The Cubs had a terrible time getting going: hitless through 5 2/3 innings including 7 strikeouts. They got a break when Javy Baez got on base on an error from the Nats’ third baseman. It’s a tough call, but he thought the ball was foul, even though the umpire called fair, and so bobbled it long enough for Javy to make it to first base. Hendricks moved Javy to 2nd with a sacrifice bunt and then Ben Zobrist flied out to center and Javy couldn’t advance. Still no hits in the game…2 outs. Kris Bryant, the reigning NL MVP hit a solid base hit that allowed Baez to score, and KB advanced to second when the throw went to home to try to get Javy out. Rizzo came up behind KB with another base hit: Cubs 2, Nats ZERO.
Rizzo hit an RBI double in the 8th to add some breathing room. Then Carl Edwards and Wade Davis pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings to close out the shutout and give Davis his first postseason save as a Cub protecting Kyle’s win. This is Davis’ 5th postseason save in his career and he may get a chance to double that before the end of this season.
Game 2 is in a few hours and Cubs now need 2 more wins to advance and then 8 more to repeat as world champions. Jon Lester (career WAR 41.1, career postseason ERA 2.63) takes the mound against Gio Gonzalez (career WAR 26.3, career postseason ERA 3.93) for the Nats. Lineups aren’t available yet but I expect to see a similar lineup from last night with the exception of Almora in CF, Zobrist moved to LF and Heyward back in his home at RF. Possibly still Schwarber or even John Jay in LF.
I will be on a plane for a large chunk of the game and don’t know how good the internet will be for even listening so cheer them on for me!