Category Archives: Chicago Cubs

World Series Game One: Kluber, Indians Dominate in 6-0 victory

[Indians 6, Cubs 0]

I’m taking a lot of flack for just feeling like the Cleveland Indians are meeting much resistance in this postseason. It’s no fault of their own, but it just seems like the Tribe hasn’t had a moment where they’re needing to press or play from behind or any high-leverage spots at all. Their model works extremely well and almost takes the mystery out of it – the mystery and drama that you live for this time of year if you’re not solely a fan of either team.

And that’s what I want to see. I want to see the Indians get down two games to one and then see how they respond. I want to see guys in the bullpen need to get big outs other than Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. I want to see how the Indians hitters do when they’re in a 4-0 hole in a game they have to have. We haven’t seen any of that yet.

Last night it was the same thing I feel like we’ve seen eight times previous this October: junk run, junk run, followed by home run by off-brand player; solid pitching performance and oh hey look the bullpen has the ball and the game is over. Never one real moment of suspense in last night’s 6-0 win.

It was three hours and 37 minutes of domination, and domination that feels quite gimmicky. I realize I’m just not going to know what to think if this is one of those goofy years where the little Cleveland Indians go and win the whole thing without any resistance. And as an Ohioan if that makes me a terrible person, so be it. There are better teams that have not run through the playoff field like this and I don’t want to see the Indians be the first, so there I said it.

But hey, lets look at the positives. At least you can get into tonight’s game for less than $500 on the street. That’s reasonable, right? Not really, but it brings a little less bitterness towards Cleveland; a city that has no business commanding $900 standing room only ticket prices. I’ve been to Cleveland. It’s a dump. How are there that many people with that much money? Quit spending your savings on World Series tickets.

Of note:

  • Francisco Lindor had three hits, including a two-out single in the first; he stole second base, and then scored on Jose Ramirez’s infield single to make it 1-0.  He’s hitting .371 in the postseason. Super-star.
  • Jose Ramirez also had three hits. He’s up to .290 in the postseason. Another guy who isn’t a superstar but a very good player. I almost classify him as a poor man’s Lindor.
  • Roberto Perez homered off Jon Lester – the hardest ball that’s been hit off Lester all season long (112 MPH on a cool night), and then homered again in the bottom of the eighth for the dagger. The more I say Perez is not a good baseball player, the more he’s going to continue to do stuff like this.
  • Corey Kluber set a big league record by striking out eight of his first nine outs in the World Series opener. He’s right on the echelon of being the horse I said he would need to be for the Indians to have any type of chance this postseason. He was absolutely dominating and one hitter in, the way he set down Dexter Fowler; I knew that the Cubs were in a lot of trouble.
  • Terry Francona is 9-0 in the World Series now in his career.

So tonight’s game gets underway in about three hours. It’s been moved up an hour due to rain in the forecast. I think this is the biggest game of the series, without a doubt. If the Cubs win this, I think they can roll. If the Indians win this, all bets are off; and they may be already, but if the Indians win it the series has to at least come back to Cleveland barring a sweep in Chicago.

Hopefully my kid goes to bed on time – she likes to stay up all of the sudden and watch baseball because it’s better than the alternative. And hopefully by the time she’s asleep the Cubs bats are quite the opposite.

Not a World Series Preview Post: The 2016 World Series


2016 World Series: Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians

The World Series begins in my home state tonight, about two hours and 15 minutes from my doorstep. It’s always been a bucket-list item for me to be at a World Series game. Due to the insanity of ticket prices, I’ll be covering these games like the rest of America; from my couch.

You could seriously get into a Super Bowl for cheaper. Like, much cheaper. And then of course I have friends who got a ticket for $100. I have friends who have tickets to games 1, 2, 6 and 7. I have friends who could get tickets to Progressive Field, but they’re holding out because they only want to go to Wrigley. I have friends who have passed up tickets. All of these people can kiss my ass to be honest. You are not deserving!

Down to the series itself. The Cubbies open as a -185 to -200ish favorite with the Indians checking in around +160 depending on where you ask. This seems about right. I want to remind all reading this that the Indians went into the NLDS against Boston with the Red Sox -185 favorites and they were swept. The Blue Jays were -140 favorites against the Tribe; and they were made short work of in just five games.

If this truly isn’t the hardest bad guy who sits at the end of the video game, if this isn’t Super-Shredder; if this isn’t the greatest enemy who shall ever be faced by the 2016 Cleveland Indians and they don’t go down right here, I truly know jack shit about the sport.

The Indians are going to need some serious smoke and mirrors and chokes and fears by their opponent for the third straight series to win this. The Chicago rotation is more solidified than not only that of the Indians, but then that of Boston. Not that I think it really matters, but the Chicago lineup gets a shot in the arm with the return of Kyle Schwarber tonight as the Designated Hitter.

Cleveland is rolling out Corey Kluber, stink-handed Trevor Bauer, some Merritt kid, some Salazar, they talk up Josh Tomlin in game three like that’s a truly dependable option at Wrigley Field; I mean this is ridiculous. It really is. That’s just not a World Series rotation, as great of a story as Curse vs. Cursed is here in late October.

The Cubs meanwhile have four guys you know well. Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, and John Lackey. It’s not close. If both these teams play their game, it’s not close. And the Indians will be lucky to fight this back to Cleveland for a second trip so my one buddy can attend games six and seven after he got to go to one and two. What a lucky prick!

I don’t need to break it down with stats and analysis. The Indians hit like .140 or something putrid in the ALCS and still won in five games. anything can happen here, but I don’t see it. I’m betting the farm on the Chicago Cubs. I’ll be back with reactions on each game, after it happens. Or whenever I get around to it.

And any expert who is really picking the Indians here is just doing it to be cute, and you know it.

World Series Prediction: Chicago Cubs over Cleveland Indians in Five Games. 

Chicago Cubs reach the first World Series in what seems like ever


[Box Score]
[Bleed Cubbie Blue] [Chicago Now] [Bleacher Nation] [Obstructed View]

October 22nd, 2016 was the fateful date in history that the Chicago Cubs were meant to take the National League pennant. If Cubs fans had known how this chapter in the story went all along – maybe their lives would have been a little more at ease.

The Cubs took it to Clayton Kershaw early and often. The game was somewhat uneventful until ‘Go Cubs Go’ played over the loudspeakers and the final out was recorded, partially due to the fact that it was never close and also because Kyle Hendricks was on.

Throwing what he said was his best performance of the year, Hendricks gave up a lead off single to Andrew Toles and then not another until the last batter he faced in the eighth inning.

Anthony Rizzo homered to make it 5-0. When that ball left the park, you really knew it was over. People preceded to cry in the stands. The sold out crowd sang the Cubbies victory song. Harry Caray was correct back in 1991 when he said that someday the Cubs would be in the World Series.

This blog has seen underachieving Cubs teams, Cubs teams that were talented but simply not ready, Cubs teams that lost 100 games and now finally a Cubs team that is the finest team in baseball.

On the way out, there is simply no knocking the Los Angeles Dodgers of 2016. They were a gritty, gutty team that was a lot of fun to watch. They were perhaps the second best team in all of baseball this season. They took this Cubs team to six games and deserve a ton of credit. You aren’t hearing the last out of that Dodgers nucleus. They just ran into a juggernaut Cubs team that will now open a World Series in Cleveland on Tuesday. Baseball history will be made.

Wrigleyville can rest easy, for once. There’s a fair chance it won’t at all.

Your Saturday Baseball Post


It might be an NCAA fall Saturday, but I think we’ve got an all-timer on our hands tonight at Wrigley Field in game six of the NLCS.

It’s Hendricks-Kershaw, in the primetime; with a nip in the air from historic Wrigley Field. It’s the best pitcher in the game trying to extend the Dodgers season and the Cubs trying to win one game to get to their first World Series since 1945. It’s going to be complete insanity. And as I’ve said since the beginning of this series – I think it’s going the full 18 rounds. Dodgers find a way tonight and extend this season one more day.

And of course it’s a Saturday. A glorious Saturday. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. Enjoy your Saturday, and you better be tuned in tonight at Chicago.

The Dodgers try to lean on the magic of The Ravine one last time


It’s game five of the NLCS out in wild Los Angeles. Grab your game notes, your pop corn, your cracker jacks, your Fireball… whatever it is people do…. and get ready for a showdown.

What a wild, magical summer it was out at the gem of baseball, the mecca that is Dodger Stadium. It’s hard to believe the leaves have fallen (although not in L.A.), and that this could be the last time we get to watch a game at that park all year unless the Dodgers win two out of three.

I think there are points and counterpoints and a case you can make for both of these teams winning this series – and which is better for baseball. Personally, it’s just hard to root against the damn Dodgers in Vin Scully’s farewell season with all these magical moments. It just feels like it isn’t meant to end in the next few days.

Then you’ve got the Cubs, and what kind of super villain would root against them?

So you settle in, you soak it in, and enjoy the 18 round heavyweight fight we thought this would be.

NLCS Game Two: Kershaw Dazzles on a Sunday Night at Wrigley


[Box Score]

Clayton Kershaw gave the Dodgers the game they absolutely had to have from their ace. Seven scoreless innings, one walk, two hits, and six strikeouts at rabid Wrigley Field on a Sunday night to even the series. Kenley Jansen worked the final two innings for the save in a 1-0 ballgame. It’s becoming a theme of the 2016 postseason to see the relief ace in weird spots, before the ninth inning. And for the most part they’ve delivered.

And the offense in this game was as depressing as the late Sunday night it was played on. The lone run of the game came on an Adrian Gonzalez home run to center field.

After everything that happened in game one, we’ve got a series. And now there are three games in Los Angeles where the Dodgers just seem to have some added magic. This is going to be a long, great series if you couldn’t tell from the first two games.

Javier Baez provides a classic Wrigley Moment to end a great Friday of Baseball

[Box Score]

Johnny Cueto had thrown a great game. It looked like the bad guys from San Francisco might escape death again, but when Cueto threw the pitch; he knew off the bat it was a fatal blow.

What a night it would have been to be at Wrigley last night. Or to be young and be in Wrigleyville. And you can’t just go up there if you’re not a Cubs fan and soak it in, and really get all of it. But if you grew up a Cubs fan, and you were there last night; you’ve really earned the right to soak it all up.

I imagine it was a crazy, city-wide party that lasted until the wee hours of the morning like Harry Caray used to do. And today they wake with glazed eyes and ready to do it all over again. Life is good in baseball’s Camelot right now. And Kris Bryant gets to play King Arthur with Jeff Samardija on the bump in game two.

The Cubs winning this series and advancing in the playoffs – and knocking off the boring Giants in an even numbered year – is good for baseball. We can all enjoy it a little bit for that reason.

Corey Seager, Dodgers Record Holder


This one was very meaningful. On a picture perfect Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium in a 3-2 win against the Cubbies, Corey Seager got the scoring started with a home run off Jason Hammel, his 23rd of his rookie season. This was also significant because it’s the Dodgers record for a shortstop.

This was of course, a textbook Seager home run. He’s not dead-pull. He’s not always going the other way. He sprays the ball. What a season the 22-year old is having.

Kris Bryant’s MVP Game


[Cubs 6, Dodgers 4 (10 innings)]

Last night’s game at Dodger Stadium was EVERYTHING you could have wanted in a baseball game. It was an early instant classic of the regular season. And I had the pleasure of watching the entire thing for the most part.

The Dodgers looked in control of this one, and should have won the game. National League MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Corey Seager squared off. With the Dodgers up 4-2 in the 8th inning after an Adrian Gonzalez home run, the Cubs needed life. Bryant crushed his 34th home run of the season to cut the deficit to 4-3, and this put his average over .300 on the season.

Things weren’t done from there.

Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth, and if you watch baseball at any regularity you figured this game was ending 4-3. But Jason Heyward made himself somehow-useful. He doubled off Jansen to begin the ninth and would score the tying-run with one out on a wild pitch.

Bonus baseball was awarded with Vin Scully on the call. And I might have to change my MVP vote from Seager to Bryant on a count of what happened next.

Bryant comes back up against a southpaw – Dave Roberts has no clue how to manage a bullpen, God love him – and Bryant hits a predictable two-run shot that ices the game for the Cubs. It was his 35th home run of the season and he’s at .303 on the year.

The Cubbies absolutely stole this one with their best player headlining it. We’re all better off having seen this one, if you saw it.

A Cubbies-Redlegs Summer Matinee

Today I went with three friends to see the Reds host the Cubbies on a getaway day. The Cubs won this game 9-2. The seats and weather were great, and we saw a bunch of cool stuff. It was the first time I’ve made it to a game this season, and I just got a new camera.

Click through the jump to see too many photos from today.

Continue reading A Cubbies-Redlegs Summer Matinee

Kris Bryant makes MLB History in Cincinnati

Kris Bryant is just a helluva young power hitter. Last night in Cincinnati, the Cubbies dropped the hammer on Dan Straily and the Reds rascals of the bullpen for an 11-8 victory.

Bryant made history, becoming the first player in the history of baseball to hit three home runs, and two doubles in the same game. He now sports an OPS of 1.080 in Cincinnati. He kills the Reds in Cincinnati.

So, as you watch these; you’ll notice they weren’t cheapies. Bryant didn’t just kill the buffalo. He used ALL of the buffalo. He used the ivory bones for jewelry, the hide for a blanket. The skull will hold bullets.

We get the chance to actually see Bryant live and in the flesh tomorrow. We have a brand new camera we’ll be testing out. We should be able to get some decent shots. It’s too bad we couldn’t have been on hand for this performance of a lifetime.

Kris Bryant baptises the left field scoreboard at Wrigley with Julio Urias’ help

It’s been a bit since we’ve checked in with our buddy Kris Bryant; but yeah this kid is awesome. When I think about Bryant, I think about the batting practice and Home Run Derby I saw him at live last year in Cincinnati.

You really can’t have an appreciation for how much different a ball looks off his bat than any other player. It is a high, arching, swooping fly ball that just keeps traveling and lands deeper than you think it will. I guess it could have also been the angle, but I don’t think so.

Today in a classic little afternooner at Wrigley, he got rookie Julio Urias real good.

The Cubbies won this game 7-2. It was the second straight day that Bryant homered; his 14th. Yesterday he got Michael Bolsinger, too.

Bryce Harper has a pretty cool box score line


Who says we only do Bryce Harper posts when he homers.

On Sunday in Chicago, Harper was walked six times and hit by a pitch. He went 0 for 0 and reached base seven times. Has that ever happened in the history of baseball? Even to Barry Bonds?

The Cubs made the decision that win or lose, they weren’t going to let Bryce Harper beat them. And it’s hard to argue with the results – even if you’re a fan who bought a ticket this weekend in Chi-town to see Harper swing the bat. The Cubbies went out and swept the Nationals in four games, including today’s extra-inning 4-3 win on a Javier Baez walk off home run.

And no, it had never happened prior to today. It was an MLB record.