The Bats are Back: Cubs explode for double digit scoring output in 10-2 win

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The Bats are Back: Cubs explode for double digit scoring output in 10-2 win

Photo courtesy of AP

Photo courtesy of AP

Photo courtesy of AP

Photo courtesy of AP

Joe Thomas

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After last night’s game three concluded, it had been 18 innings since the Cubs had been able to put a run on the board. The Cubs needed to get something going. Along with the brutality of the past two games, the Cubs only had a combined four hits. They were beginning to look like the 2012 Cubs who went 61-101, who finished last in the league that year in runs scored. And, to boot, the only remaining Cub from that team….the struggling Anthony Rizzo.

 If the Cubs wanted to come back and have a chance at winning the series they would have to gets the bats going once again and win game four against the Dodgers’ young 20 year old pitcher, Julio Urias. To put the significance of his age in perspective; he was not legally allowed to have champagne in the Nationals’ clubhouse after the Dodgers clinched game five of the NLDS. He is also one of the youngest MLB players to ever play the game. Urias had to go up against veteran John Lackey who has pitched the most postseason games out of any active pitcher in the MLB today. Game four was expected to get more runs then we have seen recently in this series, but this time it wouldn’t just be the Dodgers to get on the board; the Cubs would join the fun.

The true action began in the bottom of the second when one of the most controversial calls of the series occurred. On an Andrew Toles single to right, Adrian Gonzalez turned on the jets from second trying to score the game’s first run. Heyward made a good throw to Contreras at home, who applied the tag on Gonzalez in what seemed in real time as a surefire out. The umpire called him out. Almost immediately, the Dodgers made the decision to challenge the ruling on the field. When video replay was shown, it appeared that Gonzalez was safe. Dodgers fans began to cheer as if they were certain the ruling on the field would be overturned. After a good three to four minutes of reviewing the situation, the umpires called Gonzalez out, officially citing that there was no definitive evidence that Gonzalez’s hand beat the applied tag.

Dodgers Stadium erupted in boos and so did social media, of course, there in the form of tweets. Minutes after the call, Washington Nationals star player Bryce Harper tweeted, “He was safe! Replay system still broke..Same thing all year long! #DontMessItUp” This could have handed the momentum to the Dodgers and who knows, those ten runs the Cubs got may have never happened. Throughout the night the Dodgers were having some problems with the umpires, especially with the strike-zone. Needless to say the Dodgers and the umpires weren’t singing each other’s praises after game four’s conclusion

After the first three innings went scoreless the Cubs began to get on the bases frequently. The hitting in the fourth began with a perfectly placed bunt by Ben Zobrist. Following Zobrist’s infield bunt single, Javier Baez singled. The next batter up was Wilson Contreras who hit another Cubs single, easily scoring Zobrist. The Cubs still weren’t done with the Dodgers in the fourth, however. After a Jason Heyward groundout scored Baez from third Addison Russell came to the plate with a man on. Russell had been struggling lately and has been moved to the back of the Cubs batting order, hitting in the 8 spot last night. All he needed was one reassuring big swing to turn his postseason around and Russell got exactly that. On a 2-0 count the rookie Urias served one up for Russell who slammed it over the wall in deep center field, giving the Cubs a 4-0 lead over the Dodgers. Now that Russell was beginning to click once again, Joe Maddon had just one more thing to fix–potential MVP Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo has been in a significant postseason slump as he struggled in the series against the Giants and within the first three game against the Dodgers. At this point he would take anything to turn his postseason around, including using a different bat–that of teammate Matt Szczur . When he was due up in the 5th, instead of bringing his bat up to the box he brought his teammate Matt Szczur’s bat. Why was he doing this? Because he had tried everything else. On a full count to Rizzo, Dodgers pitcher Pedro Baez left a pitch over the plate that Rizzo made him pay for. Rizzo sent a towering shot to right center that eventually cleared the fence, giving the Cubs a 5-0 commanding lead. Maybe there’s some magic in Szczur’s bat.

After a two run single by Justin Turner in the bottom half of the 5th, the Cubs got right back to business in the top of the 6th. Following Mike Montgomery’s second ever base hit of his career, Dexter Fowler hit a single extending the Cubs lead to four. Later in the inning Anthony Rizzo proved that his home run was no fluke by hitting a two run single giving the Cubs an even larger lead of 8-2. At this point in the game, the Dodgers had had it and you could tell. With the bases loaded for the Cubs and Baez coming to the plate, it was almost inevitable that the Cubs would get more runs. On a sac fly hit by Baez, Bryant scored. Then Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal couldn’t get in front of the throw home which led Rizzo to easily come home and give the Cubs a 10-2 lead.

After back to back games where the Cubs couldn’t put a run on the board for their lives, they came back the following day and put up double digits on the Dodgers. Don’t judge them, it’s just how they roll.

After the 6th, Dodger Stadium was dead silent and half of the seats didn’t have people sitting in them. Hector Rondon closed out the Dodgers to complete game four. The final score of the game was 10-2, Cubs in dominant fashion.

Game four’s takeaway is basic: once the Cubs start going, it’s tough to stop them. One of the reasons why the Cubs couldn’t win games two and three is because the bats never began to produce. If the Cubs could have got a run or two off of Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill then the Cubs may have had a shot at winning those games. It showed tonight that once the bats begin rolling and runs are scored the Cubs begin to gain momentum and eventually run away with a game. Many players from the Cubs tonight were able to get hits, especially Rizzo and Russell who are looking to turn around their postseason struggles. This team can beat the Dodgers, it’s just a matter of how much they want it.  

Game five today–the third in a series of three consecutive games in LA–will be one of the biggest games of the series undoubtedly. The winner will be heading to Wrigley only needing one more win to become National League Champions. Today’s pitching matchup will feature the Cubs’ ace Jon Lester against Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers. This is the same pitching matchup as game one when the Cubs beat the Dodgers 8-3. The Cubs surely will have momentum heading into this game, but as usual, the Dodgers will be no easy task and they won’t go down without a fight.

This series has now become as best of three. The first team to two wins will be heading the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians, who secured their spot in the Fall Classic with a game five win last night over the Toronto Blue Jays. As the series becomes increasingly intense, be sure to check in with The Forest Scout the morning following a Cubs postseason game. The intensity will be high in the Chicagoland area in the next few days. Get ready, it’s going to be a wild ride to the end.