It will never be appropriate to liken Trevor Bauer’s finger to Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in Terry Francona’s playoff history. But the Indians emergency team kept the Jays in check and sent us to our fourth loss in six October write-ups, which is why none of these have gone against the record. The leans stop today though because tonight’s play is for real – the first of the postseason.
We leaned the wrong way against Rich Hill in game five of the NLDS in Washington, but I’m going to do it again on Tuesday night when he returns home to pitch an early evening game (local time) in Los Angeles. Hill has labored a bit in two postseason starts so far. He got roughed up a bit in game two of the DS, giving up six hits and four runs while failing to get through the fifth inning. Dave Roberts had a quick hook for him in game five, which he started on short rest. Still, Hill couldn’t get through three innings in that one. He’s walked two batters in each start, but that rate is close to what he did in 110 regular season innings. What makes Hill so especially tough is that he just doesn’t give up the long ball (four in 110 regular season innings). The Cubs must embrace this fact and, instead of trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark, simply make solid contact and turn the lineup over. A more simplified approach at the plate could help turn things around, anyway. The Cubs’ 3-4-5 hitters are 6-for-60 so far in the postseason. Tracking Hill’s soft serve all the way in might be just what the boppers need to get going.
Jake Arrieta makes his second start of the playoffs after getting a no-decision in Chicago’s lone loss of the Divisional Series. He was good though, throwing six innings and allowing two runs against the Giants. I just like this spot for Arrieta, where he doesn’t necessarily have the burden of knowing he’s the number one guy, but starting a game that kind of feels like a series opener in a new setting with an even series. And what a luxury it is for the Cubs.
Chicago is -115 on the road to take command back in this series and I think the Cubs do just that. This one counts – for half a unit.
Gut Says: Cubs -115
YTD: 36-24-1 +5.75
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02