Hello again, everybody! How are we all doing on this thoroughly fabulous Friday? Ready for more playoff baseball? I am still basking in Cubs NLDS victory, and drinking it all in, and I hope you are as well before the NLCS gets started Saturday in New York.
There is something different about this Cubs postseason team than those of recent memory. As many have opined, a good number of Cubs players might be too young to truly understand the magnitude of the moment. The team is comprised of a perfect mix of young and experienced, and they are led by arguably the best manager in baseball. It is quite a sight to see, and one that has been downright fun the past week and change.
So let’s give it up for the Cubs, and get down to some ramblings …
• Kyle Schwarber … wow, just wow. After lighting the league on fire in the mid-to-late summer, he cooled somewhat drastically heading into the playoffs. I am not sure anyone could say they felt he would do what he did, just destroying baseballs and scaring pitchers
• Home Runs, home runs, home runs, home runs, more home runs and more home runs after that. Too cool.
• Oh, and two successful safety squeezes on Saturday. Those were fantastic and just made me laugh. Maddon might have gone to the well one too many times Tuesday night when Bryant got thrown out at the plate, but who am I, or who are any of us, to question the Cubs’ skipper.
• No one should question said Cubs’ skipper right now. No one. He knows so much more than all of us. So much more. I also loved “Brunch and Batting Practice” while the Bears game played on the jumbotron. This was just another fantastic idea from a brain that has brought forth petting zoos on the field and penguins in the locker room.
• The electricity inside Wrigley on Monday was unreal. Not since Kerry Wood went yard in Game 7 against the Marlins in 2003 has the building shook, truly shook, like it did.
• But this week, Wrigley just kept shaking and shaking and shaking. However, there was a serious lull early on Tuesday, but Baez’s bomb sent the place into a frenzy that still hasn’t ended, nor do I hope it does anytime soon.
• I have never been a fan of “walk-up” music, but Starlin’s song is awesome. The whole place gets into it, and the players clearly love it. It might come across as a small thing, but at times, I believe it helps in a way that is truly hard to measure.
• And I believe that song is entitled “Ando En La Versace” by Omega “El Fuerte.” The dugout and the bullpen really get into it. It’s truly fun to watch.
• Luis Valbuena went deep for the Astros in Game 5 on Wednesday, and it got me to thinking. There are not too many trades in which both teams are truly happy with the outcome. The Fowler for Valbuena trade might just be one of the rare occasions where both teams went for what they needed, and both players exceeded expectations.
• No, I did not do any research on this, nor is it “ripped from the headlines.” It is just something I pulled straight from my stream of consciousness.
• Totally random thought of the moment: I am not sure what type of relationship Maddon and Hammel have, but it seems like it might be frayed or lacking in some manner. Hammel has been displeased for months with his early exits, and he made a tongue-in-cheek comment Tuesday, which I believe conveyed his annoyance. It will be interesting to see how this plays out through the end of the postseason and on into the winter.
• If you have not seen it, the Oakland A’s twitter account had a funny post where is showed Schwarber’s home run landing in their ballpark. Quite funny. I am not sure how that ball stayed on top of the scoreboard in right, but it did. It seemed to almost disappear. People were looking around at each other, thinking aloud and saying, “Where did that go? Was that a home run?” I honestly had to look at the umpires to know for sure.
• Jon Lester quietly had a great outing last Friday night in St. Louis. His postseason accomplishments are well documented, and as Cubs fans, we should be very excited about our chances Saturday and Sunday.
• Arrieta’s streak had to come to an end at some point. Escaping with only four runs given up with the wind absolutely howling out is not a bad thing. He clearly did not have his best stuff, but was able to keep his team in the game, and the Cubs prevailed. That is the essence of what makes a pitcher great.
• How about Jorge Soler! My man. Step up, grow up and show up. He did all of that during the series, and here’s to hoping it continues. It was said by someone on the MLB Network Rundown that Soler might just have the highest ceiling of any on the young Cubs right now.
• Anthony Rizzo embodies fight, faith and leadership. He has been through more at 26 than most of us can fathom. Not only did he break out of a slump in a big way Monday, he put the team and the crowd at ease with his blast early Tuesday evening. I have the utmost respect for what he has overcome, the horrible disease he continues to beat and the leader he is for this team. A great Chicago Cub.
• When the Cubs earned their spot in the Wild Card game, I had many conversations with other fans that went something like this: “We didn’t expect them to make the playoffs. We didn’t expect this at all. Anything more this season is just gravy.”
• Those sentiments are now done. They are gone. The Cubs are the odds-on favorite to win the World Series according to Vegas. The only thing that will be gravy is a World Series Championship. They are in the LCS, the expectations have risen to an all-time high for this team, and they have earned said expectations. And they have a manager that can direct them through this onslaught of media and hype in the best way possible.
• To close, I will share with you my most wacky and off-the-wall prediction for the rest of the Cubs postseason. Chris Coghlan is going to hit a massively impactful home run, and it’s going to propel the Cubs to a place they have not been for a long time. I am not sure what that place is, but I feel he will definitely have a huge say in what happens. That is my crazy prediction … please share yours below.
The Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night to clinch their first ever playoff series victory at home, inside Wrigley Field.
That is a very fun sentence to write. Read it and read it and read it and enjoy the ever-living daylights out of it because it happened. And it was oh so much fun.
And until next time …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!