NLCS Game 4 Recap: Cubs Offense Shows Life

Rick Rowand presents our NLCS Game 3 recap in which the Cubs offense shows life and evens the series.

The Cubbies came into Game 4 of the NLDS down two games to one against the Dodgers. Pundits have been wondering if the Cubs would ever hit a baseball again after being shut out by  Kershaw and Hill, plus a couple of relievers.  Blaming the lack of offense solely on the hitters seems to be a common theme these days. Forgetting perhaps, that the quality of the pitchers – and their pitches – might have something to do with the whiffs.

Like most games at Chavez Ravine, the spectators arrive late, but all of the empty seats do give us TV viewers the chance to spot the numerous celebrities interspersed among the empty seats and the common folk. Yes! It’s Burt Sugarman and his wife Mary Hart! And sitting with them, it’s none other than the death-defying Larry King. They should bring back Garrett Morris to SNL to revive the “News for the Hard of Hearing” segment so he can shout out updates on Larry King. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give you updates during the game on how the rich and famous watch games.

The Dodgers have 20-year-old lefty rookie Julio Urias on the mound facing 37-year-old veteran John Lackey, owner of two World Series rings

Not much to write home about during the first three innings except that Larry King likes to pick his teeth and Sugarman spends as much time texting as a teenager. At first I thought he was nodding off, but then he’d look up when the pitches were delivered. Oh, and Addison Russell had a great tag out of Justin Turner, who was caught too far off of second, on a very good throw by Wilson Contreras in the first.

And in the second – Adrian Gonzalez was called out after he tried to lumber home from second on a single by Andrew Toles. The Dodgers immediately called for a review, and based on the replays we say – he looked safe – but NY stuck with the original call, killing any momentum the Dodgers had.

The fourth is a different story as Urias gives up a bunt single to Ben Zobrist to lead off the inning. Hey, swinging the bat isn’t working, might as well so try something new. Javier Baez widens the crack in the hole with a single to left, and Wilson Contreras ups the ante with another single that scores Zobrist. Even Jason Heyward gets into the action with an RBI groundout to second. Addison Russell comes up and deposits the ball over the wall in right center giving the Cubs a lead, 4-0.

And that’s all for the plucky rookie as he’s replaced on the mound by Pedro Baez.

The Dodgers are unable to answer as grizzled veteran Lackey shuts them down yet again.

Sugarman is still madly texting his friends that he’s at the game and rubbing it in that they aren’t. Ever the trooper, Mary Hart watches every pitch in while taking King’s pulse between innings, just to be sure.

Baez stays in the game and Anthony Rizzo welcomes him with a homer into right center. Baez is replaced by Josh Fields after two batters. The loveable losers now lead the game 5-0.

Lackey starts the bottom of the 5th by walking Andrew Toles and pinch hitter Andre Ethier. Joe Maddon brings out Mike Montgomery to replace Lackey. Dave Roberts counters this move by having Howie Kendrick pinch hit for Chase Utley. To affirm the move, Kendrick singles. Turner follows up with a two-run single. The inning ends with the score 5-2.

Ross Stripling joins the fray as he starts the sixth for LA. Once Heyward pops out – at least he’s making contact now – the Cubs decide to take the game out of the Dodgers hands and add five runs on five hits and two errors to the total. Russell, Montgomery, Dexter Fowler, Rizzo all singled and Baez had a sac fly that scored two. Cubs are up 10-2 and all is right with the world once again

The rest of the game was mainly a series of relievers making appearances to try and keep the ‘pens as fresh as possible for tonight’s game in Chavez.

On the celebrity front, it looks like Larry King left the game early for his nightly transfusion. Mary and Burt, as is their custom, stayed to the bitter end. The same couldn’t be said for at least half of the LAD fans at the game.


Follow Rick on Twitter @rrowand

Featured image courtesy of Sean M. Haffey.

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