At the risk of sounding like my dear sweet grandmother, I’m just going to say it. I get a kick out of this team. No matter what the obstacle is, they seem to know what to do to help themselves be successful. Despite injuries, non-believers, or rookies coming in, they figure out a way to win.
Yadi looked good tonight. Yes, I know, this is a statement we may have to agree to disagree on. He was 0-3 with a strike out. I get it. But he hasn’t played since September 20, following his thumb injury. Yadi looked good behind the plate. It was the kind of thing that makes your heart happy.
John Lackey. Should we talk about him? Holy way to turn up the playoff intensity. Takes me back a little to the days of Chris Carpenter and how he would get incredibly intense on the mound. Okay, back to Lackey in this game. He pitched a two hitter. A two hit shut out in 7.1 innings pitched (and yes, I was rolling my eyes when he came out of this game in the 8th, but what do I know?). This against a team that was on a 9-game win streak coming into tonight’s game. A team that had all the momentum swinging in their favor. He quieted them down pretty quickly with that before-mentioned shut out and 5 strike outs (only walking one). The most excitement the Cubs saw tonight was in the top of the sixth. Runner on and Dexter Fowler came up to bat. With the pitch count at 2-2, Fowler sky rocketed one to the right field warning track that looked like it might be trouble (I swear that sucker was a homerun coming off the bat). The calmest person at that exact moment was Randal Grichuk, who watched it go into his glove and allowed the collective breath all of Cardinal Nation was holding to turn into a sigh of relief.
On the other side of the field, Jon Lester looked really good for the Cubs…until the 8th inning. How incredible is it that the Cards were up 1-0 for most of this game, and then two rookies…ROOKIES…hit homeruns off a postseason veteran? First was Tommy Pham, who blasted a ball 425 feet. Cards lead 2-0. Matt Carpenter comes up and gets a walk. Good night, Lester. So, new pitcher, new rookie. Two run homer by Stephen Piscotty. Cards up for good 4-0.
Looking onto tomorrow, this momentum could carry the Cardinals far. With a pitching match up of Kyle Hendricks (8-7, 3.95 regular season) versus Jaime Garcia (10-6 2.43 regular season) the boys look to go up 2-0 before heading to Wrigley. Sure looks good to me.
Here’s to taking game 2!
As always, Go Cards!
Photo credit: heavy.com