By Todd Johnson
All series long, Indians’ manager Terry Francona has put on a managerial highlight reel. This series has been about Francona riding his best horses to the finish line. It is not about Javy, Heyward, Soler, Contreras, Maddon,or anything the Cubs have or have not done. The Cubs have simply been outplayed and outmanaged.
Currently, I have a huge reluctance to go on Twitter. During last night’s 7-2 loss was no exception. Yet, I still stay positive. I’m not into blaming individual Cubs players for the lack of wins. I can handle blaming the team, and I think that’s acceptable. Collectively, the Cubs have just not gotten things done in key situations; And that’s up-and-down the lineup, one through nine. When you give up seven runs as a pitching staff, you’re not gonna win many games while scoring zero, zero, and two runs. I think you also have to give the Indians credit, especially Kluber, Miller, Allen, and their hitters for coming through in a timely manner.
Despite all of those positives for the Indians, I still believe in the Cubs. And I have to change the subtitle of this site to “Dreaming of November 2016.” It’s going to be hard for the Cubs to come back, but they have everything at their disposal.
They Have the Pitching
Lackey’s gone. He’s fine for the regular season, but it’s not the post-season. Lester, Arrieta, and Hendricks are set up to be Stud 1, Stud 2, and Stud 3. While the Indians have gone and will go with Kluber, I’ve often questioned why the Cubs didn’t do that with either Lester and/or Arietta. It seems as though the Indians are going for broke, but then again, they really have no other choice with Santana and Carrasco injured. The Cubs, meanwhile, don’t have that sense of urgency to their pitching rotation. Maddon has stuck with the four-man rotation. I’ve questioned it in my own mind. But if the Cubs come out with three well-rested pitchers and win this thing in the next three games, then Maddon will look like a genius for not pitching Lester and Arietta on three days rest.
Hitting Can Only Go Up
The most frustrating part of the series for me has been the lack of hitting. That includes getting on base and driving in runs with runners in scoring position. It’s not as if everyone is trying to hit a homerun and flailing aimlessly at the ball, but it doesn’t appear that they have a plan of attack against Kluber, Tomlin, and Miller. Those three pitchers are not going to pitch any different the last one to three games. The Cubs are going to have to figure out a way to get something done with what those pitchers give them.
Every day is now a game seven.