Category Archives: MLB Playoffs

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.

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.

The Cleveland Indians Have Gone Back to the World Series

[Box Score]

[Cleveland Plain Dealer] [Plain Dealer Copy] [Fangraphs – August Fagerstrom] [Fangraphs – Jeff Sullivan] [Deadspin] [Hardball Talk]

The Cleveland Indians are back in the World Series. It happened when I was in middle school (1995). It happened when I was then again a freshman in high school (1997), and I loved that team. But then there was a drought with so many close calls (1998, 2007, and a few others in between). But this team – it never fit the blueprint of a World Series team after a rash of injuries to their starting rotation. In my mind, this was a good and sound team with an obvious tremendous manager who played the game fundamentally right. But I still saw Boston and Toronto as superior Juggernauts in terms of teams that could knock them off.

With that, they went 7-1 to begin the playoffs. They’ve had little resistance in their path. So let’s look at the reasons I’m happy the Indians are in the World Series in successive order:

  • Francisco Lindor
  • Terry Francona
  • Andrew Miller
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Corey Kluber
  • Cody Allen

And that’s it in terms of guys I would pull off their roster in terms of guys I would take over some of the other playoff teams in the tournament.

I’m also extremely happy for so many of my friends and family members who love the Tribe – the ones who have hung in through all the bullshit through all the years. When I say ‘bullshit’, there have been some really bad breaks and unfortunate turns that Cleveland has endured, and this is a lot more special than the Cavaliers run. It’s baseball. This is the damn mecca of the sports world when your team makes a World Series.

This shot says it all.
This shot says it all.

Of course, it’s nice also because I’m discussing spending the money and finally attending a World Series game to cross it off my bucket list.

But did I think this Indians team had a legitimate shot to do this? Not after the injuries to Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and then the minor one to Kluber. Not drawing Boston in the first round.

To me, it’s a bit flukey because I watched the games and saw the lack of offense from their opponent right down to when Ryan Merritt went four and change yesterday. But none of that matters now. The Indians showed up and played the game on their schedule and scored more than the other team when 27 outs were recorded. If you watch sports long enough, these things happen. At this point with the way things have went, it almost feels destiny at this point that the Indians just win the whole damn thing.

Let the record state, that with all the heavily loaded Manny Ramirez/Jim Thome/Grady Sizemore/Pronk Hafner teams that fell short of getting back to the World Series, somehow this little Indians team that could found a way. Baseball is great and surprising all the time.

Here’s Trevor Bauer’s Severed-up Pinkie, not that it mattered


Two-thirds of an inning for head-case Bauer tonight in Toronto. And then the Tribe bullpen took over and ran without problem to the victory.

Friggin-drone accident. What an asshole, to work on a Star Wars toy drone or whatever the Hell it was and cost his pitching-short team only to be bailed out by the likes of Dan Otero, Bryan Shaw, and Zach McAlister. Cleveland has no idea the good fortune they really are having.

But at least….. at least he didn’t get a standing ovation tonight like he did after 4 and 2/3 against the Red Sox in Cleveland in the ALDS. Because that was just weird.

Click through the jump to see video goodness of Bauer’s bleeding finger.
Continue reading Here’s Trevor Bauer’s Severed-up Pinkie, not that it mattered

Baseball’s American League has Gag-Jobbed this to the Cleveland Indians


Let me start by saying: the Cleveland Indians are a good team. They’re really good. I’ve said since mid-summer that the Indians were a team that played the game the right way, ran the bases well, played good defense, had the pen to shorten a game and had a guy who manages with his hair on fire.

But this run through the playoffs like a hot knife through butter? Well the way they’ve done it has been nothing short of a complete choke job on the parts of Boston and Toronto. The stats support it, but if you watch the games; no team in history just seems to hold that mandatory +1 lead throughout the entire postseason.

And sure, if there’s an organization in baseball that deserves a little good fortune, it’s probably the Indians. I’m really happy for their fans now being just a game from the World Series after beating the Blue Jays in Toronto by a score of 4-2.

But if you’re one of these Indians fans – and there are a lot of them – who are telling me that this run is simply because Cleveland is this damn good…. you’re just not being realistic.

I’ve watched baseball for three decades now. You’re going to tell me that this Indians team is really the type of team that runs through the American league, six games in a row without a sweat? They’re not even the best Indians team that has been in the postseason. I would argue they’re not even in the top FIVE Indians teams that have been in postseason play. The thing is, I don’t even think they’re that hot.

I’ve seen two teams now in Boston and Toronto who are getting into hitters counts with zero plan; swinging at breaking balls in the dirt and completely gripping all too hard. That’s the biggest thing I see watching night over night.

I will buy into the Indians being anything more than a good team that caught some fluke only when they beat one of these heavily-loaded National League teams in the Cubs or Dodgers in the World Series.

As they say on Reddit, tldr; the Indians are playing a better brand of baseball right now than their playoff opponents because those opponents have been completely flat for six straight games. You know it’s true!

Now, win one more game you cursed fuckers! It’s on my bucket list to get to a World Series game and I think I have the wife’s approval to spend the doll hairs. Don’t fuck this up like you always do, Tribe!

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


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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.

Indians have a perfect ALCS win to open series at the corners of Carnegie & Ontario

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I watched the entire game one of the ALCS last night with friends. I like the Indians enough – although I’m in disbelief how they’re doing this. And I really like Francisco Lindor, whose two-run home run last night was the only scoring in the entire game.

And as an Indians fan, what more can you really ask for? They have it made right now. Their best player homered on a perfect fall night at home to open up the League Championship Series and get them a win with their ace on the bump.

For all Cleveland fans have been through, they have it pretty good right now.

And I have to say, through four games in the playoffs; I am still waiting on the team that faces the Indians to get the big hit. It’s just not happening, it seems.

Corey Kluber gave them six-plus of shutout baseball, and then passed the baton to a dominant Andrew Miller. Cody Allen took over in the ninth to retire Toronto without a hiccup.

I would be totally fine with the Indians getting to the World Series. At this point, that’s the only way I’ll get to attend a World Series game live with the way the Reds are going.

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

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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 kicks the Nationals-Dodgers series off with a Bang



Man, the Nationals and the DODGERS. Wow. Two teams I love. This means no matter what, I’ll have a team to root for in the NLCS. I’ll sign up for that right now. This also means that a team that I really like has to die. It feels a little bit like I felt on this night, so many years ago.

Let me take you back to the Ironman Match, Wrestlemania X:

Yes, that’s how it feels. I liked Shawn Michaels, the Heartbreak Kid. But I LOVED Bret Hart. And damnit I didn’t know how to feel. My emotions were twisting inside me.

And it’s our first 2016 MLB Postseason post. Corey Seager has had so many huge moments this season, I don’t know where this one will rank. But as you’ll see, he DESTROYS a Max Scherzer pitch in the first inning to set the tone.

And suddenly I didn’t know how to feel. My wife is making me feel guilty – telling me we named our daughter after Bryce Harper – and how could I root against that? I wasn’t. I just like both of these teams and whoever emerges here is my horse.

All in all, it wasn’t the pitching duel that Sonny Koufax flew out to Washington for. Maybe he lives there, Hell I don’t know.

Clayton Kershaw went five to get the victory, but was just satisfactory. Scherzer went six and allowed all four Dodgers earned runs, including another big bomb to Justin Turner.

Game two tomorrow, and I won’t have to worry about who to root for because I’ll be at a pumpkin patch telling my two-year old not to touch the goat because the goat has disease. So, there you go.

Chicago Cubs move on to the NLCS


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It’s hard to believe this was the first time the Cubs have clinched a postseason series on Wrigley Field soil in their history. It’s hard to believe that Fernando Rodney and Clayton Richard got holds. I thought the Cubs were in trouble when Travis Wood was on in relief before the fifth frame was completed.

But the Cubs have such star power, and in our opinion their brightest start got the biggest hit.

Anthony Rizzo, with the death blow. It’s nearly a carbon copy of last night’s home run:

Monster home run from forgotten man Javier Baez that swung the entire momentum of the game, while you were driving home from work. Kyle Schwarber with the exclamation point home run that left Wrigley.

Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon were electric in the 8th and 9th. The energy at Wrigley Field was absolutely incredible. This is a team worthy of watching in the NLCS, and they’ve now knocked off the team with the best record in baseball. This is the beginning of a long and glorious run for the Cubs, and it’s good for baseball.



No matter what happens from here, Cubs fans will always have this one night at Wrigley Field. And holy Hell, was that as fun as it looked or what?

The top six players in the Cubs lineup (Fowler, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Castro) all hit pretty tremendous home runs deep into the Chicago night. The wind was blowing out, and the Cubs powered past those evil rotten Redbirds from St. Louis 8-6.

Our favorite was definitely the Anthony Rizzo bomb; his first hit in the playoffs:

Sure, the Cardinals hung four runs on Jake Arrieta which is impressive in it’s own right. But Arrieta was nasty enough to strike out nine and get the Cubbies in control of this series.

Tomorrow at 4:37 eastern time when the sun is still in the sky; some late afternoon baseball will against be played at splendid Wrigley Field. We are really hoping this series wraps up tomorrow night and the Cubbies roll onward. Maybe Back to the Future was right all those years ago.

There’s baseball at Wrigley Field Today


One of the most magical days of my life was when I visited Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was an absolutely, picture perfect day from start to finish. That day, we decided that it was one of the most magical places not only in baseball but in all of the world. That day, we decided that the Cubs were not an NL Central evil, but rather something that should be treasured by those who love baseball.

Today, playoff baseball returns to Wrigley Field. It’s the first time since October 2nd, 2008 when the Cubs lost to the Dodgers 10-3. That team was built around Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Derek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano started the first two games of that series. Good old Rich Harden took the loss in game three of that LDS series and the Cubs were swept. This team has a bit better foundation. We knew they would win the other night to ensure at least two games at Wrigley Field.

Tonight at 6:07 PM EST has the makings of a classic: the best pitcher in baseball at the moment Jake Arrieta takes the bump opposing Michael Wacha who is always solid in his own right. The Cubs have a golden opportunity to take control of this series and really as a -210 Vegas odds favorite, something weird is going to have to happen for them not to do so.

And we love it. There’s nothing more boring than the Cardinals grinding out 2-0 wins in the playoffs. It makes us want to move on to another sport. These Cubs however; they’re a breath of fresh air. They’re something new. And it would be good for the sport the longer these guys are alive in the playoffs and that huge market and their rabid fans get to live out the hopes of lifting the curse of the Billygoat and Steve Bartman!

So toast your 312 ale! We’re pulling for the Cubs to do this.

Betting on Baseball Saturday 10/10

A real wiseguy, Jimmy the Greek
A real wiseguy, Jimmy the Greek

Anyone looking for today’s casino bonuses will realize that they can grab the Chicago Cubs as a nice underdog this afternoon in St. Louis. The Cubbies are a +122 underdog currently at the Las Vegas Westgate for instance, with Kyle Hendricks opposing lefty Jaime Garcia.

The Cardinals Cardinal’d the shit out of the Cubs last night. That’s what the Cardinals do. They get home runs from Tommy Pham and great pitching performances from guys like John Lackey who was pumping 95 MPH gas and getting strike calls several inches off the plate. When those things are happening, the public is going to get slaughtered (Jon Lester probably had a huge public backing) and the casino’s and sportsbooks will absolutely slaughter you.

But DO NOT be swayed by all this. The Cubs are a good team. On name recognition sure, more people are going to know 10-6 Jaime Garcia and his 2.43 ERA. Kyle Kendricks is a solid 25-year old pitcher in his own right who has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last three starts. Meanwhile, Garcia has allowed four or greater earned runs in three of his last four.

This series is going to get evened up today. The Cubs have a lineup with lefties who OPS at a .772 clip against left handed pitching. They can get to Garcia tonight in St. Louis, and they’ll do just enough to get this series to Wrigley all tied up.

It’s hard to believe in all this time, the Cubs and Cardinals met for the first time in the playoffs last evening in their history! I would have missed that trivia question.

Our pick is the Chicago Cubs +122 on the moneyline. Go with the Cubs and make it a winning day.