What a Braves fan tweets at 4AM when his team faces elimination

31 Comments

I have a cold and feel like crap and last night’s Braves-Dodgers game was not exactly a big bowl of chicken soup on top of it. So it’s probably not surprising that I went to bed somewhat grumpy, resigned to the fact that Freddy Garcia is all that stands in between the present and the Braves’ elimination. And of course, this wasn’t a recipe for a good night’s sleep, so I was up at 3:53 AM. Here’s what happens on Twitter at that hour when you find yourself in my frame a mind with some cold medicine added on top:

 

Hark! An actual major league baseball player is up too and tries to help:

 

It’s not nothing I guess. Though I’d probably feel better if the best of his playoff performances hadn’t been pre-9/11, but you do what you can. What else do people got?

Again: true. Though how much weird stuff can really happen when, even if Freddy comes through, you gotta find a way to win again on Wednesday. That really sends the mind reeling:

 

“If I could free my hands,” he thought, “I might throw off the noose and spring into the stream. By diving I could evade the bullets and, swimming vigorously, reach the bank, take to the woods and get away home. My home, thank God, is as yet outside their lines; my wife and little ones are still beyond the invader’s farthest advance.”

Except Clayton Kershaw will be standing there in a Union uniform ready to snap you, the noose and your neck back to reality. Sigh.

Cast about for hope again. Let’s see if Freddy Garcia has anything that can help me out:

“I don’t panic. I just make pitch.” — Freddy Garcia.

Huh. That’s actually a little comforting in some twisted way. I mean, sure, it doesn’t make Freddy Garcia anything more than he is, but it woulda been nice if Julio Teheran had that kind of equanimity about him last night, no?  Yeah, I can sort of get behind Garcia’s groove here:

source:

Playoff baseball, man. It’ll make you believe anything and reach for anything in desperation.

And even if my boys go down in flames tonight, I wouldn’t change a thing about how the playoffs roll.

The Cubs are in desperate need of relief

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Tonight in Chicago Yu Darvish of the Dodgers will face off against Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. If this were Game 1, we’d have a lot to say about the Dodgers’ trade deadline pickup and the Cubs’ budding ace. If this series continues on the way it’s been going, however, each of them will be footnotes because it has been all about the bullpens.

The Cubs, you may have heard, are having tremendous problems with relief pitching. Both their own and with the opposition’s. Cubs relievers have a 7.03 ERA this postseason, and have allowed six runs on eight hits and have walked six batters in seven innings of work. And no, the relief struggles aren’t just a matter of Joe Maddon pushing the wrong buttons (even though, yeah, he has pushed the wrong buttons).

Maddon pushed Wade Davis for 44 pitches in Game 5 of the NLDS, limiting his availability in Games 1 and 2. That pushing is a result of a lack of relief depth on the Cubs. Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. all have talent and all have had their moments, but none of them are the sort of relievers we have come to see in the past few postseasons. The guys who, when your starter tosses 80 pitches in four innings like Jon Lester did the other night, can be relied upon to shut down the opposition for three and a half more until your lights-out closer can get the four-out save.

In contrast, the Dodgers bullpen has been dominant, tossing eight scoreless innings. Indeed, Dodgers relievers have tossed eight almost perfect innings, allowing zero hits and zero walks while striking out nine Cubs batters. The only imperfection came when Kenley Jansen hit Anthony Rizzo in Game 2. That’s it. Compare this to the past couple of postseasons where the only truly reliable arm down there was Jansen, and in which Dodgers managers have had to rely on Clayton Kershaw to come on in relief. That has not been a temptation at all as the revamped L.A. pen, featuring newcomers Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson. Suffice it to say, Joe Blanton is not missed.

Which brings us back to Kyle Hendricks. He has pitched twice this postseason, pitching seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but getting touched for four runs on nine hits while allowing a couple of dingers in Game 5. If the good Hendricks shows up, Maddon will be able to ride him until late in the game in which a now-rested Davis and maybe either Strop or Edwards can close things out in conventional fashion, returning this series to competitiveness. If the bad Hendricks does, he’ll have to do what he did in that NLDS Game 5, using multiple relievers and, perhaps, a repurposed starter in relief while grinding Davis into dust again. That was lucky to work there and doing it without Davis didn’t work in Game 2 on Sunday night.

So it all falls to Hendricks. The Dodgers have shown how soft the underbelly of the Cubs pen truly is. If they get to Hendricks early and get into that pen, you have to like L.A’s chances, not just in this game, but for the rest of the series, as bullpen wear-and-tear builds up quickly. It’s pretty simple: Hendricks has to give the Cubs some innings tonight. There is no other option available.

Just ask Joe Maddon. He’s tried.