It must be just like Christmas around the clubhouse after their 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals but the celebration will have to wait another day. For a team that’s having a phenomenal year, this I think, is the most crucial time for the Cubs and the hardest. They’re playing teams that are vying for a Wild Card spot and well, the Cubs are all ready in it.
“We’ve played this team all year and have competed against this team all year, and they never back down from the challenge,” Chicago’s Addison Russell said. “We definitely expected that. You have to tip your cap. That’s a great team over there.”
St. Louis does have a great team, they’ve always been a great team and the Cubs fiercest competitors but when the Cubs had plenty of opportunities to move the runners, they didn’t. I’m not saying that’s their fault but it’s going to be a crucial component in October.
“We had guys on base all night,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “At the end of the night, you look at the homers, but we had many opportunities to score, and we didn’t.”
Small ball wins October.
I would argue that now is the opportune time to try new things. Be creative, if it doesn’t work who cares? The ultimate goal should be to move the runner. If the Cubs don’t make the World Series, it’ll come down to that very reason. They couldn’t move the runners.
Jason Hammel is going through a rough patch. It could be those pesky playoff nerves approaching but he hasn’t looked good in his recent outings. Giving up more than 20 earned runs in his last six starts is the opposite end of Kyle Hendricks.
“It seems like every time I give up a run, it leaves the yard,” Hammel said. “I’d like to give up a double or something that drives in a run sometime. It’s very frustrating. I felt like I pitched pretty well. I don’t know what else to say.”
He’s a fierce competitor and hopefully, cross your fingers he’ll find his game soon.
Going down this stretch, many don’t always talk about the clubhouse and the importance of encouraging words from grizzled old veterans like David Ross. In his victory lap season, he’s hit more home runs than anytime in his career while providing those encouraging words to those younger players like Kris Bryant in the times he needs it. In a recent game against Houston, the two were spotted chatting it up on the bench.
“I was probably just venting to him some frustrations [about an at-bat], and he was there pumping me up and telling me I’m the greatest player who ever lived,” Bryant said. “That’s what he tells me. That makes me feel good. I know I’m not the greatest player who ever played the game, but for him to say that to me, that’s all you need when you don’t feel right or something. You need a guy like David Ross sitting next to you on the bench doing most of the talking. That was a moment for me and him.”
There’ll be another moment towards the end of October.