The Chicago Cubs have done it again. They are moving on to the NLCS. One step closer to be World Series Champs again. From the looks of it though, this road will be tougher than last time around.
Last year, the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants in four games to move on to the NLCS. Last year they relied heavily on great starting pitching and great relief pitching, especially from the closer role. One other thing about last year’s NLDS is all the scores were kind of low scoring and really close. No big blowouts. No easy wins. Every game was a struggle and challenge. In the end they found a way to grind it out and move on to the NLCS.
This year some things were the same, but also much different. This year it took the Cubs five games to finally win and beat the Washington Nationals. Now we know that is only one game difference from last year, but the toll is much larger. You have to go through and use more pitchers to get through more games. The last two games of this series were great examples of this. You don’t normally expect to see Jon Lester and Jose Quintana make relief appearances in a ball game. You don’t expect your closer, Wade Davis, to throw 44 pitches to win a game, but that’s what it took. Another big difference was the pitching. Last year we had great pitching duels. So far in this postseason, the Cubs pitching has looked average. Only one of the starters have made a long outing and the relief pitching leaves you wondering, “Where has our pitching gone?” One last thing, all the games were close. No game was won by more than three runs except Game 4, which was won by five. This means the bats were quiet for the most part. The Nationals pitching staff pitched kept the Cubs in check.
Sounds gloomy, right? Not when you look at it this way. The Cubs did win three games to play another series. The Cubs pitching was just good enough to beat out the Nationals pitching and go the mound once more. The Cubs made big outs in a game that was win or go home. The bats came through when they needed it the most, especially in Game 5 when the score went back and forth, finally being able to produce runs and win 9-8.
But wait there’s more. We have more games to play. We’re not done yet. There’s still work to do. It was a hard fought, grind it out series, but enjoy it. These things don’t happen all the time. Now we have to prepare for the NLCS.
Oh, did I mention who we play in the NLCS……It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers.