If only we had more time to get a statistically significant amount of data to test if the Cubs’ new north side ballpark is truly the source of their failures!
“I believe there hasn’t been a whole lot of people that have run that
team that truly understand the ballpark,” Steve Stone says of the Cubs.
“Because the bleachers are so low in comparison to (other parks), the
wind and the wind direction has an inordinate effect on a fly ball.”
Wrigley is a Jekyll and Hyde park, he says, a hitter’s paradise in
the warm weather and when the wind blows out but a pitcher’s haven in
the chilly months and when the wind blows in. He says the Cubs
historically have loaded their lineup with slow-footed sluggers instead
of balancing it with speed and players who can scratch out runs.
I think the day games — at least since everyone else went to almost all night games — is a competitive drag for the team in that they have to deal with more heat and more quick turnarounds from road trips and stuff.
But really, the biggest factor in the Cubs’ championship drought has either been bad rosters, bad management and bad luck.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.