The excitement never ends. For most of Saturday, the day seemed pretty boring. I wasn’t nervous at all about the game. I was actually very relaxed. Knowing that the Dodgers struggle against left-handers made the day glide on by. And when game one began, I could not wait to see what excitement the Cubs had in store. I didn’t know what excitement really meant until the game was over.
In the bottom of the first, Dexter Fowler lead-off with a single and came home on a Kris Bryant double. It staked the Cubs to a one to nothing lead.
I thought for a minute in the second inning that the Cubs were gonna blow it out. A Javy Baez double brought in Jason Heyward, who had tripled before him. Baez soon followed the double with an amazing baserunning juke that turned into a magical experience as Javy stole home when the Dodgers threw back to third base to try and catch him in a rundown.That did not end so well for the Dodgers.
I am amazed at how quickly fans began to chant “Javy! Javy! Javy!” It wasn’t but 2 years ago that some wanted him discarded like the trash. Now, he’s become more than they could ever have hoped.
The game then settled down for a bit. All I could think of was just getting to the 7th or 8th to turn it over to the veritable collection of lefties the Cubs stashed in the bullpen. I awoke from daydreaming when Andre Ethier put LA on the board with a solo HR.
After the Cubs missed some chances to score some runs, the seventh inning finally arrived. Lester had been lifted for pinch hitter Jorge Soler. In came Travis Wood who got Adrian Gonzalez out. Then, Carl Edwards came in and struck out one, then walked Enrique Hernandez. Joe Maddon responded by bringing in lefty Mike Montgomery to face Joc Pederson. Four pitches later, Pederson went down on strikes.
After the Cubs failed to score in the bottom of the seventh, the inning that lasted an hour came to be a classic. Mike Montgomery first gave up a single to start the inning. Pedro Strop came in and gave up a walk and a single to make my blood pressure soar. Chapman came in and got the next two heaters out on strikes. And then my heart sank when Adrian Gonzalez tied up the game on a single.
The bottom of the eighth began with a Ben Zobrist double. After Addison Russell grounded out to the third baseman Turner, manager Dave Roberts began a series of head-shaking moves. After Jason Heyward was intentionally walked, I thought Javy Baez would get to be the hero again. He flew out weakly to left. Roberts had pitcher Joe Blanton walk pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan in order to get Aroldis Chapman out of the game. Cubs manager Joe Maddon responded by pinch hitting with left-hander Miguel Montero.
I didn’t think Montero would ever see the plate. I thought for sure Roberts would bring in the left-handed pitcher warming up in the bullpen and Maddon would counter in kind with pinch-hitter Willson Contreras. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Blanton stayed in and had Montero 0-2. The third pitch was the same as the first two pitches, sliders that hung in the middle of the plate, and Montero crushed it for a grand slam home run to give the Cubs a 7-3 lead. I almost knocked the fan off the ceiling when I was jumping up-and-down and screaming at the screen.
Dexter Fowler followed Montero with a home run on a similar pitch to make it 8 to 3. In the ninth, Hector Rondon came in and finished the game but no before giving up a run and getting a game-ending double-play.
I think for Sunday night, I might temper my excitement a bit…..nah!
Tonight, the game starts at 7:08. Clayton Kershaw will take on Kyle Hendricks and I am hoping. The Cubs can keep it close to scratch out a run here in there. Maybe Kershaw’s a little tired, but I hope the Cubs work the count early so that they can get to him later.