It feels good to have the Cubs just one game away from the World Series. With last night’s 8 to 4 victory over the Dodgers, the Cubs will now have two cracks to get to the postseason classic. I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that they can get there. It’s just weird being so confident that the Cubs can get this done.
Last night, I had parent-teacher conferences. Before the last conference, I checked and saw that the score was 1 to 0, Cubs. When I left school, the Cubs were still leading, but by the time I got home, after stopping for some gas, it was all tied up at one. And then the magic started to happen. It was almost as if they waited for me to get done working to bust it out beginning with Addison Russell’s two run home run. The thing about that home run was that he just crushed it to dead center. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind with the ball came off the bat that it was gone. When the game got to the seventh, I just kept counting down the outs until we could get to Chapman. The eighth-inning made that thought moot.
The Cubs began the inning by getting two extra runs on an infield single by Fowler and a ground out by Heyward. What I enjoyed most about the ending was Baez’s bases clearing double. I’m pretty sure there was a collective gasp when Baez pulled up for a few seconds heading back into second base after initially thinking about trying to turn it into a triple. Where a bunt and a bloop got it done the night before, the Cubs just used old-fashioned scrappiness and two big swings of the bat by Russell and Baez to win two out of three in Los Angeles.
Kershaw is beatable. He is not a robot pitcher. The Cubs can get to him. I think that in the first game they faced him in the series, Kershaw did pitch very well, but he was about 4 feet from losing the game. I think if the Cubs are patient and look fastball first rather than curveball, I think they can take him. I think Cubs hitters got caught watching the paint dry in Game 2. I know Bryant got caught looking for a curveball on one of his strikeouts as Kershaw basically threw a fastball almost down the middle. Or, the Cubs just look to go up the middle or the other way against that curve.
I think the eighth inning from last night is it example of how they could beat the Dodgers. Outside of Puig’s arm, the only reputable fielders are Joc Peterson in center and Corey Seager at shortstop. The rest of the Dodgers ability to field the ball is tenable at best. They Cubs just need to put the ball in play and make the Dodgers make that play on defense.
As for Kyle Hendricks, he needs to do what he did last Sunday. I don’t know if Joe Maddon is going to go all hands on deck for game six, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him break out the lefties en masse in innings six through nine on Saturday night.
The big confidence boost for me is knowing that they have two cracks to get it done. However, I still like them to win on Saturday night. To beat the best pitcher in the game to get to the World Series would put a nice stamp on the pennant.