That was no fun.
I listened to most of tonight's game on the radio and I'm pretty glad that I didn't change my plans as the Cardinals took game one from the Cubs by a score of 4-0. The good news, if you're looking for some, is that this was only one game of a best-of-five series.
Jon Lester started for the Cubs tonight and he was actually very good. He allowed a run in the first inning when Stephen Piscotty doubled down the right-field line and Matt Holliday singled him home. Then Lester settled down and didn't allow another run until Tommy Pham homered off him in the eighth inning.
The problem with Lester pitching very good is that the Cardinals starter, John Lackey, was outstanding. Lackey didn't allow a base runner until Kyle Schwarber walked in the fourth inning, and then Kris Bryant hit into an inning-ending double play. The Cubs didn't have a hit off Lackey until Addison Russell led off the sixth inning with a single. Russell made it all the way to third after stealing second and then advancing on a ground out by Lester, but that's as close as the Cubs came to scoring a run tonight.
The game was quite tight until the Cardinals blew it open in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Pham homered with one out off Lester and then after Lester walked Matt Carpenter, Joe Maddon went to the bullpen and called on Pedro Strop. Stephen Piscotty then connected for a two-run home run to put the game out of reach. The Cubs did manage to get runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth off Trevor Rosenthal, but Rosenthal struck out Bryant to end the game.
The only Cub who really distinguished himself tonight was Schwarber, who went 2 for 3 with a walk. One of those hits was a bunt single in the seventh.
Manager Joe Maddon didn't have a good game either. He probably left Lester in one batter too long, but more importantly, he bizarrely did not pinch-hit for Coghlan when Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in left-hander Kevin Siegrist. In the end it probably made no difference, but it was a strange call by a manager who is usually on top of these things.
All I can say is let's get them tomorrow. Let's go Cubs.
Al was at the game in St. Louis and will have a full recap in the morning. Please use this thread to discuss the Dodgers and Mets, if you so wish.