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Don't Jump - Your Game 3 NLCS Preview


I hope you’re not moaning, bitching, whining, pissing, or complaining about the way the NLCS has started. Doing so would be a waste of time and – of course – I don’t want to see you waste any time (keep reading this blog btw). Because let there be zero doubt – no one in this organization is even remotely worried about dropping the first two games. No one. Granted, I’m sure there’s a nice middle aged woman – let’s call her Katherine – working in the Cubs‘ accounts payable department or something to that effect. And I’m sure Katherine isn’t too fucking pleased about this 0-2 hole. But that’s about it. No one else is worried. Or at least that’s what Theo’s saying and good luck convincing me he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about at this point.




The reason no one’s worried is because no one should be worried. Think about it: how many times have we bounced back this season? A million? Billion? Trillion with a MOTHERFUCKING T? I mean jiminy fucking christmas give me a break with this heartbreak born again bullshit. This entire season is predicated on bouncing back from adversity. The ENTIRE season.


This is a team that got laughed at on the way to spring training. A team that’s been written off, then on, only to go back off but wait now they’re good like real good so let’s take them seriously. We’re talking about a team that nose-dived into a 2-7 May before winning 8 of their next 10 games.  A team mostly comprised of career redeeming veterans and promising young talent. A team that got swept by the MLB worst Phillies to start the 2nd half (WOMEN AND CHILDREN ONLY), only to respond with a a 16-2 record through mid August. A team that led baseball in walkoffs and come from behinds and pajama parties and sweet Yabos. We’re talking about the most exciting team in baseball.


Which begs me to ask, did you expect us to sweep? Expect us to just slaughter rule the Mets in back-to-back-to-back-to-back games? Zero drama, all Yabo kind of stuff? Because last time I checked that shit isn’t even remotely consistent with the perfect narrative that is our 2015 season. Not even close.



This is a team of destiny, and it’s trying to break 108 years worth of losing… We need crazy… we need unbelievable…we need whatever induces maximum rioting. I’m talking 3 straight game winning Yabos. And I don’t mean that pussy go-ahead-Yabo-in-the-8th kind of shit. That’s not how we roll. I’m talking bad boy life, walk-off Yabos. I want ejections, and cleared benches. I want controversy. I want a 22-inning game sprinkled in there somewhere. Simply put, I want the same exhilarating madness we’ve experienced all season to play out right before my very eyes. And no, I’m not worried things won’t turn out as I’d like. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit.


On to the (much abbreviated) notes:


1. Credit where it’s due – I’ve been impressed with the Mets approach so far. They’ve consistently focused on using the middle of the field while not really expanding their strikezones. It’s been a balanced, patient approach than can (and did) challenge big strikeout pitchers like Arrieta and Lester. They don’t overswing. They worked deep counts. And they were aggressive and tactful on the bases. That’s a good recipe for success in October.


2. That said, I still like Hendricks in this matchup for a couple of reasons. First, Hendricks has the kind of stuff (when he throws with conviction) that allows you to be very aggressive within the strikezone. He uses a lot of the plate with a variety of speeds. He can sink it, cut it, make the bottom fall out… all that good stuff. Doing so allows Hendricks to pitch to contact early in the count. (It’s worth noting that Hendricks led the Cubs this year in 1st pitch strikes at 63.1%). Based on what I’ve seen from the Mets, I think Hendricks will throw a considerable amount of ground balls Wednesday night.


3. Obviously that’s his cup of tea, but this Mets lineup really likes to let the ball travel deep into the zone.  That’s okay against a sinker/slider guy who’s focusing on changing location and not speed. You can sit on top of the plate, let it travel and then hit it where it’s pitched, much like they did on Arrieta and Lester’s sinker/slider (or cutter) combo. It’s a different story against a sinker/changeup combo that’s largely predicated on throwing off the hitters’ timing. You can’t be as patient (i.e. let the pitch travel as deep) because you can get beat on the changes in speed, so you need to be out in front of the plate more (i.e. more aggressive). I think that’s counter to what the Mets try to do early in the count, so you can expect him to thus be aggressive early in the count, and if he’s throwing with conviction, I expect weak/defensive contact from the Mets and a good game from Hendricks.


4. I just blogged myself into a sizeable piece of action on Kyle Hendricks +110


5. I think our lineup goes back to the basics after a really confusing approach on Sunday. We were hyper aggressive and it made me uncomfortable. Granted, 3-0 deficits after 1 inning certainly don’t do any miracles for a team’s patience, but I think we still got away from our core competencies. And yes, I just said core competencies in a baseball blog.


6. It’s almost like we were rattled with our strikeouts. Like they compounded on one another. We’ve been striking out all year. No big deal now. It’s gonna happen when you load up on big swings and deep counts. It’s part of the recipe. The issue is not letting it carryover from player-to-player, at-bat to at-bat.


7. I don’t like the chances of a GREAT offense getting shutdown three games in a row. I don’t give a shit if it was Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, and Walter Spahn out there for the Mets. The Cubs’ lineup is very, VERY good and certainly capable of hanging a few touchdowns on any given day. Keys will be getting DeGrom in SOME kind of trouble early… whether it’s a long at-bat with Fowler or a Schwarber missile back up the middle. Just needs to be some kind of life early and we’ll jump out and take advantage of it.


8. Finally, don’t panic. Don’t dwell. Just enjoy the atmosphere and trust that the 97-win 2015 Chicago Cubs can get us back into the series. Everyone knows anything can happen in the NLCS. Especially us.