And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Phillies 2, Giants 1: Fast Eddie beats Vincent. Or if you
prefer, Jheri Curl beats Mullet. OK, fine, so Lincecum’s isn’t really a
mullet. Maybe if it was he wouldn’t have given up that double to Ryan
Howard. Or did you not think of that?

White Sox 5, Cubs 0: Nothing like interleague play in September!
The Cubs struck out 9 times against six hits. I’m assuming that at this
point Lou is marking off the days until October 4th on his calendar
with little X’s.

Marlins 8, Braves 3: This clubhouse disarray business seems to
be working well for the Marlins: Hanley Ramirez gets a key pinch-hit
single, Dan Uggla doesn’t accost his team’s best player. Hell, it’s
paradise. The real key to this game, though, was Kris Medlen: middle
reliever. Though as Mac notes, this one is probably on Bobby for going to him on three straight nights.

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 5: When a team can throw a poo-poo platter
consisting of Gaudin, Aceves, Robertson, Bruney, Marte at you and still
cruise, you have to start thinking “team of destiny.” Posada: 4-5, 2B,
HR, 4 RBI. Somebody wake me when New York loses, because this is
getting monotonous.

Red Sox 6, Rays 3: This is not the same David Price the Red Sox
remember from last year’s playoffs (5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER). Not the same
Rays either. They’re basically over for the year, but they’ll be back.

Mets 8, Rockies 3: Wright went 3-for-4 in his second start since
coming off the 15-day disabled list. More importantly, he ditched the
big ass helmet. “It’s just not comfortable,” Wright said of the new
helmet that will be required in the minors next season. “The last thing
I need to worry about in the box is to try to shove it on my head. I
will stay with the one I used today.” I’m sure the fact that everyone
told him that he looked like a total tool in it had nothing to do with
it.

Tigers 4, Indians 3: Magglio Ordonez batted twice after entering
the game as a pinch hitter, so we can assume that either (a) the Tigers
have decided that they’re going to let him trigger his option; or (b) a
guy with a lead pipe is going to be waiting for him in the St. Pete
Marriott sometime this weekend.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Smoltz wasn’t battered or anything, but
he did lose, proving that, at least for one afternoon, the NL isn’t the
equivalent of the old American Association. Casey McGehee hit a two run
homer, and drove in nine of the Brewers’ 13 runs in the series.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 2: Thanks to Jon Garland (two earned
runs on five hits over seven) and Ron Belliard (2-3, 3 RBII) Ned
Colletti probably went to bed feeling pretty proud of himself.

Mariners 7, Athletics 4: Two run homers from Bill Hall, Franklin
Gutierrez and Kenji Johjima power the M’s. Game story: “The Mariners
were to take public transportation on the BART train to and from the
games for the rest of the series with the Bay Bridge connecting San
Francisco and Oakland closed for work all weekend.” There aren’t any
hotels in Oakland? What’s wrong with this place?

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.