I don’t have much time (which is kinda weird on Back to the Future Day, isn’t it?), so I’ll make this as quick as possible. After last night’s game, things went from “we can still do this” to “what the hell is goin’ on out there.” It happened in a hurry too.
In Game 1, the Cubs ran up against the human buzzsaw that is Matt Harvey. In Game 2, they appeared listless in backing a tired performance from their own ace. Neither game was fun to watch, but they were more disappointing than anger-inducing. The Mets were the better team and it was clear.
On Tursday at Wrigley, however, the Cubs just couldn’t get out of their own way. As though afflicted by some awe full stomach bug, they vomited all over themselves and pooped the bed at the same time. Then, too weak to move, they were forced to lay in the fetid pool of excrement and effluvium.
It was perhaps fitting that the only break the Cubs would receive on the evening was from a ball lodged in the ivy after Jorge Soler badly misjudged a dive at a dying liner. The resultant outcry over the enforcement of decades-old ground rules afforded me a small measure of joy, particularly when Mets manager Terry Collins came out to argue, looking every bit a member of the Lollipop Guild as he did.
The TBS crew didn’t help matters either, treating the ivy with the same sense of novelty as they had the rooftop seats. I get it though. I mean, those are only two of the most iconic features of MLB’s second-oldest ballpark, so it’s not as though people could or should know about them.
Everything that could go wrong for the Cubs did. Daniel Murphy hit a home run in his 5th straight playoff game — tying Carlos Beltran’s record — but it was his law that gave the Cubs the most fits. Dropped third strikes, double-clutched throws, misplayed line drives. All served to sink any chance at winning Game 3.
Funny thing about that HR record though: Beltran’s actually enticed the Mets to sign him to a big free agent deal.
As for the Cubs, yes, they should be contenders for years to come. But please don’t try to explain away their mistakes as being youthful or their failure in this series as acceptable due to potential future success. They weren’t and it isn’t. These guys aren’t rookies at this point and they’ve beaten other good teams.
That’s taking nothing away from the Mets, who’ve outplayed the Cubs thus far. But nothing is guaranteed in this game and this was a real opportunity. To see it slip away as it has is incredibly frustrating. In taking a wide view of the season, yes, the Cubs exceeded expectations. But expectations are organic and they change with time and the Cubs have been falling short of the new ones we had for them.
This may be my last post for a while, as vacation is ending and access is limited. I hope I’ve still got Cubs baseball to watch when I get home, but that’s far from assured.