At the end of last year, and the beginning of this one, the Cubs made a lot of noise that they let games pass last year. Specifically, getaway days/chances to sweep a series were eschewed and taking two of three or series splits were settled for. So I suppose through one prism, this is one of those games the Cubs couldn’t bring home last year and didn’t this year. I think it’s a load of shit when a team wins 95 games but here we are. Also, the Dodgers are really good and it’s somewhat unfair that they can just move Ross Stripling to the pen to accommodate the cares-so-much Rich Hill. And taking two of three from them after they’d paddled the Brewers ass red is almost certainly something to feel gratified about. Let’s do the thing.
The Two Obs
-Perhaps the most exciting thing of the series was Jose Quintana adding a third straight dominating start to the previous two. Yes, the Dodgers are not as effective against lefties but that doesn’t mean they’re helpless. Q’s first two get-healthy outings were against Miami and on a frigid day against Anaheim without Trout, so this was a higher-level test. And he clearly passed it. he’s not throwing that change-up a ton but he’s throwing it enough to be accounted for and he’s throwing it effectively enough to get whiffs and off-balance swings. He’s allowing way less contact and striking out nearly a third of the hitters he’s seen so far. While you could count on Q to be solid this year, him taking a star-turn would definitely be a bonus.
-The other two lefties sent to keep the Dodgers’ doomsday device from going off did their jobs as well. Lester looked good in his return, giving up a solitary run. Hamels somehow dodged six walks to keep the Cubs in Javy-range. The rotation is shaping up better than we hoped, which makes this a very good team despite the assholes and dipshits that come out of the pen.
-I don’t understand how anyone hits Walker Buehler, his stuff is that good. And yet something happens to pitchers when Javy is at the plate. They have to make a breaking pitch perfect, hang it, and this is what you get. Someday some pitching coach is going to tell his guys to throw nothing but fastballs at his letters and above. Then again, that’s what Joe Kelly tried to do in the 8th today and Javy somehow got on top of a neck-high fastball to bang it off the wall.
-Javy’s decision to try and steal in the first with Descalso up and two outs was a little iffy, as Descalso has been nails in leverage situations. But these are the things you just excuse.
-I was curious at Joe Sheehan’s Albert Almora/Kyle Schwarber treatise on Twitter yesterday. I haven’t totally given up on AA but I can see that landmark from where I am. Then he homers off Kenley Jansen. I wouldn’t be opposed to getting him more ABs at the expense of Ben Zobrist right now, who can’t seem to do anything but give you weak grounders up the middle. That doesn’t mean Zoby 18 won’t have a role to play later in the year. We know he will, but this is probably AA’s pivot year and we aren’t going to get answers without at least a third of the season as a starter. The offense is clicking with Zobrist and Schwarber as black holes, it can survive Almora taking one of their spots.
-Fire Randy Rosario into the sun. I keep saying it, but he’s never been good, his stuff isn’t interesting, and now he can’t get it over the plate. The Cubs probably have to redo their entire left side of the pen, although I’ll give Kyle Ryan a touch more leash. Just don’t make me go through that again.
–Brad Brach was hitting 94 today, which has to be the hardest he’s thrown all season. If that continues, I have slightly more patience for him. Just not much.