Tha Sports Junkies 101

NLCS Tied 2-2

CUBS Stephen Smith/ via Flickr


Cubs and Dodgers Heading to Game 5

On Wednesday night the entire Chicago Cubs nation was able to take a sigh of relief.  After watching the Cubs get shutout in back-to-back games on Sunday and Tuesday everyone was wondering when and if their bats could wake up.  They got their answer in game 4 of the NLCS.

Entering game 4 the Cubs hitters had struggled mightily at the plate.  First baseman Anthony Rizzo was 2-26, Addison Russell (1-24), Dexter Fowler (5-28), and Ben Zobrist was 4-26.  To have the heart of your order all slump at the same time was devastating to their ability to win.  Game 4 would be the game that the Chicago team many have watched all year had returned.

After facing Lefty pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, the Cubs now were up against another solid lefty. Dodgers rookie starter Julio Urias would take the mound and try to keep the Cubs bats quiet.  Through the first three innings it looked like the rookie would continue to keep the Cubs off track.  After the 3rd inning the Cubs had officially been shutout for 21 consecutive innings.

In the 4th inning Ben Zobrist would get the offense started for the Cubs with a bunt single.  Javier Baez and rookie catcher Wilson Contreras would follow with singles that plated the Cubs first run in 3 games.  Jason Heyward would then ground out to second base to bring Baez across for run number 2.  Then Shortstop Addison Russell would step to the plate.  In the second inning Russell just missed a homer that was caught on the warning track.  On a 2-0 fastball Russell would this time get all of it and send the ball sailing over the centerfield wall.  The Cubs would now lead 4-0 as they held the Dodgers in the fourth behind the solid pitching of Veteran John Lackey.

In the 5th inning Anthony Rizzo would finally see his bat come back to life.  Facing reliever Pedro Baez and a full count, Rizzo would smash one to right center for a solo homer and extend the Cubs lead to a 5-0 game.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit this postseason, but I didn’t panic,” said Russell, who entered in a 1-for-24 (.042) nosedive. “I was a little more frustrated than anything else. It’s definitely a sigh of relief to have a good night.”

The Dodgers would pick up a couple runs in the bottom of the fifth to draw closer in the game, but the Cubs bats were not done for the night.  In the top of the sixth the Cubs would rally for a 5 run inning as Russell, Bryant, Rizzo and Fowler would continue to hit.

The Cubs would use 5 relief pitchers to hold the Dodgers offense down for the night and go on to win Game 4 by a score of 10-2.

“This is a big win, for sure,” Rizzo said. “To even up the series, we have a chance to take another one here [Thursday] and go home with a 3-2 lead. In a way, this is just one game and we know it’s going to be a quick turnaround, but this was definitely a big game for us.”

If there is one person who never shows signs of worry it is the Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

What you’ve seen so far. It’s been a pretty interesting series to this point,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I did not expect it to be such a lopsided victory for us today. Although [the Dodgers] had theirs yesterday. Like I said, it’s two out of three right now. We know it’s at least going back home at some point. Tomorrow will be a pretty nice day to come out on top and going back home, having to win one of two. We’ve been pretty good at Wrigley all year.”

So What’s next in this series?

Tonight the Cubs will send Ace Jon Lester to the mound to face the Dodgers Kenta Maeda.

Tonight’s game starts at 8pm ET on FS1 to decide who heads to Chicago with a 3-2 lead in this best of 7 series.