I cannot take credit for the title phrase in quotes. That is the nomenclature of my friend and fellow Wrigleyville Nation Contributor Randy Richardson, who perfectly encapsulated the sad despair that overtook me in the third inning of NLCS Game 2 when Daniel Murphy hit his “cheap ass windblown pop-up homerun.” That latter quote is the work of the always soundbite-ready Bob, who despite the harsh words for Murphy’s at-bat, never betrayed a confidence shake in the Cubs eventual triumph. As we know, that was not to be.
Readers of my other two posts for this site are aware that my devotion leans toward the passionately bipolar. The love is always real, but so too is the sadness, the desperate fervent, wishing and the crushing, heartbreaking disappointment. I assume I am preaching to the converted here. So despite a regular and post-season to date that has been blessedly bereft of many of the Cubbies’ previous sins (2003’s collapse under pressure, 2007-08’s arrogant player hubris), the NLCS concerns me (understatement). And not just because the series is 2-0 in favor of the Mets. 13 teams have overcome that deficit to win a best-of-seven series. There is precedent. There is hope.
However the Cubs best two starters, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, have already taken their turns. And while neither turned in career-best work, they certainly received no help from the bat. The Cubs offense managed just three runs combined in the first two games. That’s just not going to cut it. And sigh yes, we’ve seen that before.
Don’t mistake me. This is not the same old Cubs and the young men are free of the baggage, the billy goats if you will, of the past. But in his last two starts, Arrieta, who is as fine an ace as the Cubbies have ever had, looked a little tired. It’s been a long, run stingy season for Number 49. He has done truly phenomenal stuff. Four earned runs in Game 2 is tough, but one would hope the man’s historically low second half ERA would have purchased him some goodwill in the form of offensive support. Game 3’s starter is Kyle Hendricks, last seen in NLDS Game 2 giving up three home runs to the Cardinals. There is ample cause for concern.
Despite the tears of frustration that followed me home after the game (there may have been some wine involved), I am ready for Game 3, knowing we have an uphill battle to fight. Knowing that the odds are not on our side but also knowing this has already been a season for minor miracles. Perhaps, as Randy encouragingly reminded me, “the Friendly Confines will live up to its nickname.”
So yeah. Becky Sarwate reporting from North Center here. Still oscillating and way too emotionally involved. Let’s go.
Becky Sarwate is the current President of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, founded in 1885. She’s also a part-time freelance writer, award-winning columnist and blogger who lives in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago with her partner Bob and their beloved pup, Jude. Her collected works are published athttp://www.beckysarwate.com