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Chicago Cubs Cruising to 2-0 Lead

Cubs Sports Crazy/via Flickr


Chicago Cubs Cruise to 2-0 Lead in NLDS

After an anxious Cubs fan base finally got a win in-game 1 of the NLDS on Friday, they now looked to Major League Baseballs ERA leader, Kyle Hendricks for a game 2 win.  The Cubs would come out firing on all cylinders.  Manager Joe Madden has told Dexter Fowler all year “As Fowler goes, The Cubs go” and tonight was no different.   When Fowler gets on base, the Cubs are win 69% of the time.  In the first inning Fowler would work the count on Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzia and hit a double to get things started.  Ben Zobrist would deliver a flare to right field to score Fowler and get the Cubs rolling.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning an unlikely hero at the plate would come through.  With bases loaded, Kyle Hendricks would single up the middle to plate 2 runs on the great base running of Javier Baez.  Two batters later Kris Bryant would single to right to score Wilson Contreras and give the Cubs a 4-0 lead heading into the 3rd inning.

In the Top of the third inning Giants Panik would hit a double and teammate Gregor Blanco would follow with a double to score Panik and bring the score to 4-1.  After Blanco was moved over to third on a grounder to the right side, Brandon Belt would hit a sacrifice fly to center and score Blanco to make it 4-2.

The Cubs failed to score in the 3rd and that’s when things got interesting for the Cubs.  In the Top of the 4th inning, Kyle Hendricks would take a line drive off his pitching arm from Angel Pagan and would exit the game with tightness in his arm.  Cubs fans immediately became nervous as they watched one of their top pitchers exit the game.  Exit Kyle Hendricks and enter Travis Wood.  Wood entered the game and retired the last out in the top of the fourth.

In the Bottom of the 4th inning Wood would come up with one out and no one on base.  He would then join the ranks of Kerry Wood and Rick Sutcliffe and become only the 3rd pitcher in Cubs history to homer in a playoff game.  Wood’s homer pushed the Cubs lead to 5-2.

The Cubs bull pen was phenomenal in-game 2.  Wood finished out the 5th inning and his night by retiring the side and keeping the Giants offense at bay.  The Cubs bull pen would follow suit with Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery, Hector Rondon and Fire baller Aroldis Chapman to close it out.  Overall the Chicago bull pen would pitch 5 1/3 innings, allowing 2 hits, no walks and 6 strike outs.

After the game the Cubs would receive good news that Kyle Hendricks had x-rays and they came back negative of a break.  Hendricks was asked about it after the Cubs 5-2 win.

“When it first hit me, I didn’t really feel it in the moment.  I just tried to recover and make the play,” said Hendricks.  “Once I started throwing off the mound, it just started tightening up on me.  The X-rays were negative though, so hopefully it’s just a day-to-day thing.  I’ll see how I feel over the next couple of days.”


Wood who replaced Hendricks after the injury also commented on his performance and his 10th career home run.

“It happened pretty quick.  It always does in a situation like that,” Wood said.  “As a bullpen guy, you’re always prepared, especially with Joe (Maddon), for any situation, anything that pops up, so you kind of keep your body and your mind locked into the game.  So I was ready to come in.  And then the at-bat, it was just I figured he was probably going to start me out with a cutter and I made a good swing on it and was fortunate enough to get him and hit it out of the park.”


So What’s next for this series?  On Monday night the Giants and the Cubs will square off again on the West coast in San Francisco.  Ace Madison Bumgarner who just came from a complete game shut-out in the Wild card game will face off against Jake Arrieta.  On paper this looks to be a strong matchup and a low scoring game, but if there is one thing we learned about playoff baseball, is anything can happen.

The Giants have their backs against the wall and their Ace on the mound, but the Giants offense needs to come to life or their hopes of another even year World Series will end on Monday night.

The Game is scheduled to start at 9:30pm ET and will air on FS1.