To say last night’s Game 1 loss to the Cardinals was a disappointment would be an understatement.
The Cubs were unable to solve John Lackey and the Cardinals’ bullpen, and wasted an effective start from Jon Lester.
Lester battled all evening, but only gave up three runs in 7.1 innings. He struck out nine.
The real story, however, was the Cubs’ lack of offense. They didn’t record a hit until the 6th and finished with only three on the night (all singles and one being a bunt single).
Obviously going to need to do better than that if they want to win this series.
This Game 1 loss definitely stings a bit, as the Cubs have Kyle Hendricks on the mound tonight. Hendricks has looked very good in his past couple starts but has been pretty inconsistent all season. It would have been nice to have a Game 1 win in the back pocket.
The Cubs made only one change to the roster for the NLDS from the Wild Card game. With the addition of Jason Hammel, outfielder Quintin Berry has been left off the roster for this series.
Berry or outfielder Chris Denorfia were my guesses on who would be replaced. Berry is a speedster, who ideally can be used to steal a base late in a game, but the Cubs must have felt guys like Javier Baez and Austin Jackson can be used to pinch-run if needed.
Hammel could see the start in Game 4 if he isn’t used out of the bullpen before that.
Strop’s struggles with the Cardinals continue
Pedro Strop has had troubles all year with the Cardinals, and last night was no different as he surrendered a two-run homer to Stephen Piscotty in the 8th inning.
At some point you have to wonder if it’s just a coincidence that he’s struggling so much with one team, or if there’s something to it.
He doesn’t really have an answer: “I feel real comfortable on that mound,” Strop told Jesse Rogers after the game. “It’s a good mound. Last year I pitched well in this ballpark. This year has been a little rough.”
In what has been the biggest surprise of the playoffs for me so far, the Rangers extended their series lead to 2-0 with a 14-inning victory over the Blue Jays. Josh Donaldson returned to the lineup for Toronto and hit a home run, but it wasn’t enough.
The Royals evened up their series with the Astros, as they came from behind to pull out a 5-4 win.
And the Mets jumped out to a 1-0 series lead over the Dodgers, with a strong starting performance from Jacob deGrom. He punched out 13 batters in 7 shutout innings. Clayton Kershaw gave up three runs in 6.2 innings.