Well that was less than ideal. The Cubs drop game 1 of the NLCS 5-2 in what felt more like a 10-2 game. If you would have told me that the Cubs had chased Kershaw out of the game in 5 innings, I would probably be celebrating. However, the Dodgers bullpen locked things down while the Cubs bullpen continued to do Cubs bullpen-y things.
The big highlight of the game for the Cubs was a big 2-run homer from Albert Almora in the 4th inning to take a 2-0 lead. Almora was then removed from the game in the 6th in a head scratching double switch that brought Zobrist into the game for the guy who had provided literally the only offense the Cubs had mustered. Quintana was fantastic early on, and, had it not been for some command issues in the 5th leading to the Dodgers tying things up, would have probably cruised through 7 innings no problem. Instead, he only lasted 5 and came out just in time for Hector Rondon, new addition to the playoff roster, to give up a leadoff bomb in the 6th to give the Dodgers a lead they wouldn’t surrender. In fact, the Cubs didn’t even make things interesting after that, as the Dodgers retired the last 18 batters of the game following the Almora homer.
I stand by the move to bring in Rondon in the 6th. He is clearly fully rested and there is the “Rondon sucks” narrative for some reason, but prior to tonight, he hadn’t given up a run since August 29th. So he’s been good. Plus the rest of the bullpen is pretty taxed after that Nationals series, so I get the move. I would have liked to see Lackey there instead, but I get it.
As for Mike Montgomery, he clearly doesn’t have it right now. He struggled badly in the NLDS, and he looked no better tonight. In fact, he has been down right horrendous in the postseason. His line currently stands at 1.2 IP, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 homers, 3 walks, only 1 strike out, which is good (or bad) for a 21.60 ERA and a 5.40 WHIP. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Now, for the big “controversial” play at the plate. It was the right call. Please stop yelling. It was the right call, but a terrible rule. It gives Willson nowhere to go and no chance to make a play there, but technically, he was blocking the plate without the call, so it made sense when the out got overturned. Check out my twitter, @ChiCubsCoverage, for more thoughts on it.
All in all, the bullpen still sucks, which we knew was an issue coming into the game, but just as important is the fact that the offense just flat out isn’t performing. Kris Bryant has been terrible, Javier Baez is still hitless in the postseason, Zobrist has struggled, the bats as a whole are just not there. And that is incredibly frustrating. This Cubs team had a great chance to beat Kershaw, who didn’t pitch particularly well, and take a big game 1 in LA, instead, we had several big holes exposed and we have to regroup and get a win tomorrow night.
Please comment with your thoughts on the game, or tweet at me @ChiCubsCoverage. Go Cubs Go!