Now, as MSTI did on his game 1 recap, I had considered going for the obvious Dodgers victory photo. You know, hugging, high fiving, the whole works. Yet I like this one so much better, for it really sums up a lot of tonight’s game. If I had to caption this photo, I think I would go for the subtle angle with something like…
“Holy fucking shit, my defense is bad! I want to die!”
And that would actually sum up a sizable portion of the game. But let’s take it from the top…
Going into tonight, the biggest key of this game, as well as the main story, was Carlos Zambrano. Would we get the good Zambrano who, when he’s on is one of the best in the game or the Zambrano who, sans a no-hitter last month, has been atrocious the past two months? Well, that was actually answered very early on in the first inning. Zambrano looked like he came ready to play, pitching an efficient first inning which included a strikeout to Manny (whom he struck out again in his next at-bat). Even better for the Cubs, in his first ever postseason start, Chad Billingsley started off the first inning shaky, giving up a leadoff single to Alfonso Soriano, who then proceeded to take second on a wild pitch. Thankfully, Billingsley followed up with two consecutive strikeouts to Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee and finally, via an Aramas Ramirez flyout, he was out of the inning. So, through 1, we’re scoreless. O.K., phew, good.
So, let’s move on to the second, shall we? O.K….
Andre Ethier leads off the top of the 2nd with a single to right. Coming up next was James Loney, the star of game 1, who proceeds to hit it to Theriot. Theriot decides to bare hand the ball and Loney gets the single, while Ethier advances to third. Next comes up Matt Kemp, who strikes out. O.K., not bad. Sure, maybe there’s runners on 1st and 3rd, but there’s 1 out now. Double play and they’re out of it! Alright, cool for them, except, unfortunately for them, this was about the time when the Cubs remembered they were… well, the Cubs.
Shit meet fan. Fan meet shit.
Following Loney’s single, DeWitt comes up and hits into a fielder’s choice to score Ethier, but Loney remains safe at second on the throwing error by DeRosa. O.K., so perhaps a little bit unlucky… except the very next batter, Casey Blake, hits a ball to Derrek Lee that he cannot handle and advances Loney to third and DeWitt to second. Another error. Billingsley then strikes out for the second out to bring up Rafael Furcal to the plate. He takes a risk and gives us one of his patented bunt singles to score a run. 2-0 Dodgers to bring up Martin, who proceeds to just hit a gap shot double to make it 5-0 Dodgers.
So, all like that. 5 runs, mostly thanks to their infield just taking a complete shit. Of those 5 runs, only one of those runs were earned for Zambrano. In fact, despite the final score being 10-3, only 5 total runs were earned to the Cubs’ pitching staff. Also, you can’t really just chalk up this game to the Cubs “giving it away,” for that is untrue. The Dodgers capitalized on their opportunities and were rewarded for it. Though Zambrano actually put up a very respectable 6.1 IP innings, 3 ER, 2 BB, and 7 K’s and was beset by a shitty defense. But having said that, Zambrano’s performance wasn’t enough to compete with Chad Billingsley. Even with his shaky beginning in the 1st, he settled it very nicely and simply pitched like he has most of the year. Thunder Thighs went 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K’s. I call that pretty damn good for anyone, much less in your very first postseason start. Well done, Thunder Thighs!
Of course, other shout outs go out to Russell Martin who, for the first time in months, seems to look rejuvenated and the past two games have shown that. Oh yeah… remember that Manny guy? Yeah, just hit another mammoth HR to deep center in the 5th. No biggie.
What I’ve really enjoyed the past two games is the plan that the Dodgers have had at the plate. What they’ve been doing, and this was really highlighted in game 1, was being able to stay patient at the plate and work the count. Even if the pitcher was doing well, work the count and get him out sooner. The only downside of the game was the shakiness of both Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton, but, for as typically ugly as that looked, it was pulled off. So the series is 2-0 and headed back to L.A. Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound, as he faces Rich Harden, for the opportunity to go to the NLCS. Yes, that’s right, folks. The Los Angeles Dodgers are just one game away from making the NLCS.
Something very peculiar is in the air, these days. Let’s enjoy it while we can.
2 down, 9 to go.