Cleveland 7, Cubs 2 (World Series Game 4)

In Commentary And Analysis by berselius93 Comments

OWS:

lackeyThree+ up:

  1. Dexter Fowler finally had a good game this series, scoring both off a leadoff double and a meaningless late HR, the Cubs first of the series.
  2. Rizzo also had a good day at the plate, knocking in Fowler in the first and doubling to lead off the sixth as one of the Cubs roughly 891 runners stranded in this series. He was also hit by a pitch in the third in one of the Cubs other failed rallies.
  3. Not many other positives in this game. Vince Vaughn didn’t embarrass himself on the stretch, so there’s that. I don’t envy anyone having to try to pump up that crowd at that moment.
  4. Cleveland’s next two pitchers suck and are on short rest, so there’s still a nontrivial chance this series goes seven.

Three+ down:

I can’t even bother to pick out individual people here, the Cubs pretty much failed at every aspect of the game tonight.

  1. Offense: awful, even when they got good contact it always seemed like it was right at someone. The Cubs BABIP with RISP this series has to be something like .037.
  2. Defense: two errors in one inning, one wild pitch (I could swear there were more), Montgomery throwing to the wrong base
  3. Pitching: Lackey looked good for about three batters, then turned back into the Lackey we saw earlier in these playoffs after the strike zone got in his head. The Cubs sixth best reliever was on the mound to let this game get out of hand.
  4. Management: What a fucking clusterfuck. Lackey probably should have been out of the game when he came up in the third, Travis Wood faced about five more batters than he should in a playoff game, Jason Heyward got key at bats against an unstoppable LHP. Kyle Schwarber watched the whole game from the bench.

Next up: Jon Lester faces off with Trevor Bauer tomorrow night. I’m too tired and annoyed to think of a Gungan joke here, so pretend I said something witty. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do.

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Comments

  1. Rizzo the Rat

    Jason Heyward got key at bats against an unstoppable

    Not sure what you’re referring to here. That at-bat against Miller when they were down 7-1?

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  2. Albaloney

    At this stage of inebriation in the postseason, I almost wish the team would have added a fictional player named Charles Foxtrot to the 25-man roster to focus our angst towards as the team underperformed in the series.

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  3. mebphd

    I made a mistake. I won’t make it again. I allowed myself to get my hopes up this year. I allowed myself to believe they might be good enough to actually pull it off. I should have known better.

    I won’t forget the lesson.

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  4. Hobohanson

    Inebriation has led me to crawl out of the shadows tonight and post after lurking the last few years. The youth is showing as Baez, Russel and Contreras are obviously pressing at the plate. Willson has been hard to watch behind the plate as well. Losing yesterday hurt the most, and has made my expectations for tomorrow crash. These fuckers just can’t hit for shit. But I still think they’ll win in seven.

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  5. dmick89

    GW,

    It’s about half of what the odds were of Cleveland winning it all and they’ve got a commanding lead. I’d love to see it happen, but I think it ends tonight. Hopefully the Cubs can remember to find their bats next offseason, assuming they get there.

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  6. Perkins

    While it’s a long shot at this point, the Cubs match up favorably in games 5 and 6. It’d be great to see them take ot to 7.

    They may need to start sacrificing chickens to Jobu or something to get the offense going, though.

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  7. Author
    berselius

    Perkins:
    While it’s a long shot at this point, the Cubs match up favorably in games 5 and 6. It’d be great to see them take ot to 7.

    They may need to start sacrificing chickens to Jobu or something to get the offense going, though.

    Maybe it’s the curse of Sammy Sosa. Bring him back to Wrigley tomorrow and all problems are solved!

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  8. Perkins

    On a lighter note, before game 3, they had the entire Cubs operations staff on the field before the game, and put up all their names on the scoreboards. Not sure if that made the broadcast, but it was a pretty cool moment.

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  9. EnricoPallazzo

    I remain fully confident. Surely none of you jabronis thought that the cubs would waltz their way to a WS title? We knew damn well that it would get ugly before it got better. It’s the fucking cubs. I just bought a plane ticket to cleveland and am looking forward to seeing a victory.

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  10. EnricoPallazzo

    dmick89,

    It just doesn’t make sense. There has been an entire regime change. Why hold onto the animosity? I just don’t get why Sosa hasn’t been welcomed back with open arms and it really seems like it will never happen.

    I am a big fan of Ricketts et al but this is such a big misstep and really is just confusing. Makes me think there is a lot of info that we don’t know…

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  11. dmick89

    EnricoPallazzo,

    I am going to look around today and see about buying a ticket to a possible game 7. I don’t think that game gets played, but I figure if they get to the one and done scenario, may as well make the trip to stupid fucking Cleveland.

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  12. Rizzo the Rat

    I’m generally dubious when a pitcher is claimed to have reverse splits. It’s rarer than most people realize.

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  13. SK

    dmick89,

    In that WSJ article, it said that Sammy says he did apologize (for leaving early that day), and so he has nothing else to apologize for.

    But yeah, let’s hold on to a previous owner’s grudge.

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  14. Smokestack Lightning

    dmick89: but I think it ends tonight.

    As much as the matchup screams Cubs win, I don’t see it, since apparently the Cubs can’t hit breaking balls (not sure how they got this far or did this well not being able to do that), and it’s hard to imagine them being mentally strong enough at this point to return to their patient, grind-y approach, and wear Bauer out early.

    That, and I think Tito goes for the KO, especially with the day off coming, pulls Bauer at the first sign of serious trouble, and throws out Shaw, Miller, Allen from the 3rd-4th inning on.

    Have to hand it to them. With Carrasco and Salazar non-factors, Indians had one legit path to a WS victory, and they executed the hell out of it.

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  15. Smokestack Lightning

    SK:
    dmick89,

    In that WSJ article, it said that Sammy says he did apologize (for leaving early that day), and so he has nothing else to apologize for.

    But yeah, let’s hold on to a previous owner’s grudge.

    It seems stupid, and it probably is, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to it than what we’ve been let in on. And I don’t believe his continued exile is primarily based on what happened in 2004.

    If so, then the Cubs are being meatheads about this, and that’s uncharacteristic of them these days.

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  16. Author
    berselius

    Smokestack Lightning: It seems stupid, and it probably is, but I’m pretty sure there’s more to it than what we’ve been let in on. And I don’t believe his continued exile is primarily based on what happened in 2004.

    If so, then the Cubs are being meatheads about this, and that’s uncharacteristic of them these days.

    My best guess is that they did fan surveys on this and the reaction was too negative. If so, that sucks ass.

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  17. Smokestack Lightning

    Josh:
    Honestly, why did the cubs bother to pitch lackey?

    He’s generally been pretty good at home this year, and outside of the Santana HR, I thought he was fairly solid. Was the victim of some uncharacteristically bad defense.

    Not sure Lester on short rest would have been a slam dunk to be much better (though I would have risked it).

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  18. Smokestack Lightning

    berselius: My best guess is that they did fan surveys on this and the reaction was too negative. If so, that sucks ass.

    That makes some sense.

    And doesn’t at the same time.

    I will take solace in the inevitable WS loss by thinking Cubs fans deserve it for being unforgiving assholes to Sosa.

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  19. Smokestack Lightning

    Looking at how Cleve has leveraged their most excellent bullpen, I think it’s a shame Strop and Rondon got hurt. Theo was trying to do the same thing for the postseason.

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  20. dmick89

    If Javier Baez is the unofficial MVP of the LDS and official MVP of the LCS, you’re either going to ride that to a championship or lose because Baez isn’t all that good an offensive player. Sooner or later that will show and it did. Bryant also played well in the first two series but has gone to shit since (offensively and defensively). Nice to see Rizzo hitting though.

    And yeah, the whole offspeed stuff is strange. If they can’t hit it, the offense is probably in trouble next year.

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  21. Perkins

    I’m assuming the Cubs shell out for Chapman or Jansen in the offseason, but I’m interested to see what they try to do for SP. They’re fine for 2017, but look shaky beyond that. I’m also guessing Arrieta regrets not taking that contract extension.

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  22. Rizzo the Rat

    I don’t have a problem with playing Baez. He’s a pretty good player, just not the superstar he looked like in the playoffs.

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  23. Smokestack Lightning

    dmick89:
    If Javier Baez is the unofficial MVP if the LDS and official MVP of the LCS, you’re either going to ride that to a championship or lose because Baez isn’t all that good an offensive player. Sooner or later that will show and it did. Bryant also played well in the first two series but has gone to shit since (offensively and defensively). Nice to see Rizzo hitting though.

    And yeah, the whole offspeed stuff is strange. If they can’t hit it, the offense is probably in trouble next year.

    Which is why I’ve always wanted Theo to trade him, even (and especially) when we reached Peak Baez the last two rounds. Not sure it will happen now as the fans adore him, and I would also think the orgs that have what Theo wants aren’t fooled by a couple of web gems and a basket HR either, but I would be beyond happy if he were part of a deal that brought back a young SP in the Chris Archer vein.

    I just can’t stand hitters who play heroball with every pitch. And I’m sure it’s occurred to the coaching staff to mention to Javy to stop swinging at every goddamn thing thrown to him. But maybe Theo thinks they’ll eventually get through to him. I would like to think his embarrassing World Series PAs would be enough to get him to fully commit to becoming a real MLB hitter, but imo, he should have been plenty of embarrassed enough in his career already to make the necessary changes. I know I would have been.

    As far as the offspeed stuff, I’m not going to put too much stock into it (I was mostly kidding). Something to be said for how good Kluber and that Cleveland bullpen is (I refuse to credit Tomlin; I think the Cubs psyched themselves out that game). They’ve dominated the best offenses this postseason, not just the Cubs. If the league really thought the Cubs couldn’t hit offspeed stuff, they would have exploited it a lot earlier. It’s not like Cubs have flown under the radar this year.

    Besides, I think the non-Baez hitters on this roster will continue to adapt and improve. This year’s “weakness” won’t be next year’s.

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  24. SK

    In hindsight, maybe going with Willson in three straight was the wrong call. They mixed all 3 catchers all year — maybe that was too much to put on him after losing game one.

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  25. dmick89

    SK,

    As many baserunners as the Indians have had the last two games, I imagine both games are quite a bit worse than they were if Montero was back there. I wouldn’t want Ross back there with a righty on the mound. If they’re going to do that, I’d prefer it be Contreras.

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  26. SK

    Smokestack Lightning,

    You know how hitters watch videos of their at bats to improve, and watch video of pitchers to see how to approach them?

    I’d like it if instead, hitters like Baez and Russell were sat down with a reel of every single Kyle Schwarber MLB at bat and made to watch it over and over.

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  27. dmick89

    Smokestack Lightning: As far as the offspeed stuff, I’m not going to put too much stock into it (I was mostly kidding). Something to be said for how good Kluber and that Cleveland bullpen is (I refuse to credit Tomlin; I think the Cubs psyched themselves out that game). They’ve dominated the best offenses this postseason, not just the Cubs. If the league really thought the Cubs couldn’t hit offspeed stuff, they would have exploited it a lot earlier. It’s not like Cubs have flown under the radar this year.

    You’d think, and I haven’t looked at the numbers so I don’t know if what Smoltz is talking about is completely accurate, but if it is, I expect the team will see a lot more of it next year. It took until the Royals went bananas on Lester for teams to figure out he can’t hold runners on. There’s no reason it should have taken that long, but it did because teams are usually lazy and content to go with what works for them. I don’t think teams try to exploit other teams weaknesses in the regular season. They should, but they don’t.

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  28. Smokestack Lightning

    SK:
    Smokestack Lightning,

    You know how hitters watch videos of their at bats to improve, and watch video of pitchers to see how to approach them?

    I’d like it if instead, hitters like Baez and Russell were sat down with a reel of every single Kyle Schwarber MLB at bat and made to watch it over and over.

    Make them watch Barry Bonds instead.

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  29. dmick89

    SK: I’d like it if instead, hitters like Baez and Russell were sat down with a reel of every single Kyle Schwarber MLB at bat and made to watch it over and over.

    This. Schwarber easily has the best plate discipline on this team and it’s not even close in my opinion. Schwarber’s eye reminds me of Bonds. The umpire should just defer to Schwarber when he’s at the plate.

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  30. dmick89

    SK,

    I think Contreras did pretty well working with the pitchers to be honest. Arrieta looked pretty good for the first time since April or May. Hendricks battled and then the bullpen did a great job. Lackey is Lackey. The Indians scored 9 runs the last 3 games.

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  31. Smokestack Lightning

    dmick89: You’d think, and I haven’t looked at the numbers so I don’t know if what Smoltz is talking about is completely accurate, but if it is, I expect the team will see a lot more of it next year. It took until the Royals went bananas on Lester for teams to figure out he can’t hold runners on. There’s no reason it should have taken that long, but it did because teams are usually lazy and content to go with what works for them. I don’t think teams try to exploit other teams weaknesses in the regular season. They should, but they don’t.

    There’s also the extra wear and tear breaking balls have on pitchers’ arms. I’d be surprised if teams really focused on that next year.

    I’d be even more surprised if the Cubs didn’t adjust to it. This is not a weird mental freak thing like Lester’s throwing yips. This is teachable stuff, and there’s no question of the necessary talent to learn it.

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  32. Smokestack Lightning

    dmick89:
    SK,

    I think Contreras did pretty well working with the pitchers to be honest. Arrieta looked pretty good for the first time since April or May. Hendricks battled and then the bullpen did a great job. Lackey is Lackey. The Indians scored 9 runs the last 3 games.

    Yeah, I don’t think Contreras’ work behind the plate has had a lot to do with where we stand. As you said, it’s all on the offense going in the tank.

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  33. Rizzo the Rat

    I’d feel a lot better about this series if an Indians fan came to this site and confidently proclaimed that the series would end tonight. I’m only half-joking.

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  34. cerulean

    Smokestack Lightning,

    I don’t want to trade Javy because his defense is unbelievable and he has shown willingness to work on his bat. Remember at the beginning of the year when his power disappeared? That was him working on his game. He has been able to make adjustments.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Soler plus traded to the Rays for Archer. I think it would hugely benefit Jorge and the Cubs rotation. The Rays will want Eloy plus plus though.

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  35. Rizzo the Rat

    I mean, I try to be analytical and avoid superstitions, but I also see omens everywhere. I’m like Bruce Wayne.

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  36. cerulean

    Rizzo the Rat,

    Dodgers_in_5.

    Also, this team was 1–1 in must-win* games last year and has yet to face one this year. So it can go either way.

    *I approve the use must-win when it is actually an elimination game.

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  37. cerulean

    Tonight, Lester will be our Josh Beckett.

    Tuesday night, the Indians up 3–0 with five outs to go and Miller on the mound, a fielder will overreact to a fan, then an error by Lindor on a DP ball, and the Cubs score eight on seeing-eye singles and doubles.

    Then on Wednesday they rock Kluber despite him taking Hendricks deep.

    Dodgers. In. Five.

    EDIT: Maybe the error should be by Kipnis.

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  38. SK

    These Cubs probably won’t win the WS, but they will probably win their last home game — not for us, but for their grandpa rossy.

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  39. Smokestack Lightning

    berselius:
    To day’s base ball squadron

    Fowler
    Bryant
    Rizzo
    Zobrist
    Russell
    Heyward
    Baez
    Forever Young
    Lester

    Woof.

    Well, I suppose if it’s already broke, why fix it now?

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  40. cerulean

    dmick89,

    He can opt out if the Cubs trade him before the option year kicks in. Any idea when that happens? I know if they tried to trade him now, he would literally have no value.

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