Monday, August 31, 2015

How Bout Dem Cubs??

Image result for jake arrieta's no-hitter'

The last time I wrote about the Chicago Cubs  (My Chicago Cubs) on this blog I was writing them off for the 2015 playoffs after they were swept by the Phillies at Wrigley Field-including a no-hitter by Cole Hamels. I was saying that Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber should be sent back to the minors for more seasoning. That was before they went 21-4 and before last night when Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

So what do I know? When it comes to the Cubs, I think with my pessimistic heart.

Not only was Arrieta's gem the first no-hitter I had watched on TV from beginning to end, it reminded me of a night back in 1964 when I was present at a Dodgers-Reds game at Dodger Stadium.

It was April 18, 1964 to be exact. Sandy Koufax was pitching. You know where I am going with this, don't you?

Think again.

Not only did Koufax lose that night, but the Reds came within one out of a combined no-hitter by Jim Maloney and Johnny Tsitouris. Maloney had left after 6 innings and Tsitouris was one out away from completing the no-hitter. Not only that,  but the last batter was Frank Howard, all lumbering 6'7'' of him. As you can see from the box score, Howard had the only hit. It was how he got it that was so frustrating. With a mighty swing (that usually produced either a homer or a whiff) Howard hit a dribbler down the third base line and managed to beat it out since the third baseman was playing way back on him.

That was the closest I ever came to personally witnessing a no-hitter.

Now back to the Cubs. They are now 5.5 games ahead of the Giants for that final playoff spot. The Giants are hobbled with injuries, but they have an easier schedule than the Cubs in September. If the Cubs keep playing good baseball, they can make the playoffs, but they cannot afford a slump.  The Giants have shown they are a team that can not be counted out.

No predictions this time. My predictions in sports are about as reliable as those of Dick Morris in politics.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

You seem to know something here that I don't. (Enjoy it while it lasts Gary -- I never claimed to be an expert on baseball). I had noticed of course that the Cubs have a higher average than every second place team in both leagues... EXCEPT Pittsburgh, which unfortunately happens to be in their own division. Thus, I had the notion that one wild card team had to be from each league, and that there were no other slots open, so due to their placement in the strongest division of both leagues, they were out of luck.

You have said they still have a shot, so I have to infer that it is not merely the highest ranking second place team in each league that gets a wild card spot. I am most glad to read it, and I read it here first. I keep hoping they will catch up with Pittsburgh, but since Pittsburgh displaced the Cubs from second place, they have never really come within range of a reverse upset.

Gary Fouse said...

Aside from the three first place division winners the two teams with the next best records are the wildcard teams. They will play one game in the home field of the team with the better record to determine which wildcard advances. That will leave 4 teams. As it stands, the Pirates and Cubs are the wildcard teams. They would play one game at Pgh to see who advances.

What else can I straighten you out about, Siarlys?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

That's cool. I didn't know two teams in each league got a shot at the playoffs. Is this the first time that the wildcard playoff will be between two teams in the same division?

(I'm afraid there's not much else you have expertise in. Maybe you should have been a baseball announcer?)

Gary Fouse said...

In answer to your question, I don't know and would have to look it up (which i won't). In answer to your comments, you are wrong.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

All, right, you also know English grammar.