Frederick Krauss, Ph.D.
The Cubs showed all season that they could overcome any type of adversity, whether it was a major injury, a losing streak, or immense pressure of being a World Series favorite. So when Kyle Hendricks got hit with a liner in the 4th inning instead of folding like most teams or previous Cubs teams would they came together and finished out the 5-2 victory over the Giants. The Cubs got a huge life from Travis Wood who relieved Hendricks and set another Wrigley Field crowd into hysteria with a home run—the first playoff home run by a relief since 1924.
In Game 2, the Cubs came out on fire against former Cub Jeff Samardzija, scoring four runs by the second inning, which ended up chasing him from the game. Ben Zobrist opened the scoring in the first with an RBI single. The Cubs offense, in the second inning, broke the game open with four hits and three runs. The big hit came off the bat of Hendricks who knocked in two with a bases-loaded single. The Giants came back with two runs in the third before Hendricks was hit on his forearm by a liner off the bat of Angel Pagan.
At that point the Cubs faithful could have thought the worst as Connor Gillaspie came to the plate as the tying run. However, Wood came to the mound with all the confidence in the world and calmed everyone’s fears by immediately striking him out. The pitcher’s spot came up in the bottom of the fourth and Maddon decided to stick with Wood who is known to swing the bat well. Wood responded with a blast to the left field bleachers off of George Kontos that sent everyone throughout Wrigleyville into a frenzy.
Maddon then proceeded to put the Cubs bullpen on full display as he marched after Wood, Carl Edwards, Jr. Mike Montgomery, Hector Rondon, and Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs bullpen proceeded to pitch five-plus innings of shutout ball while striking out six and only surrendering two hits. The performance showed that even when things take a possible turn for the worse that this Cubs team has the resiliency and desire to rewrite the organization’s failed playoff history.
NLDS Game 3
The two wins not only puts the Cubs in the position to finish the series, but also prevents the new Mr. October, Madison Bumgarner, from swinging the momentum of this series with a superb performance. Bumgarner showed in the Wild Card game that he is still as dominant as he was in the 2014 postseason. Moreover, no Cubs hitter has had any relevant success against him. Dexter Fowler is 8-for-38 with a triple and an RBI and Miguel Montero is 6-for-32 with a double and two RBI. Other than that, no other Cub has more than 16 at-bats against him. Out of 161 total at-bats against Cubs hitters, Bumgarner has only given up one home run (Jason Heyward). As a result, the Cubs face an uphill battle with Bumgarner.
Luckily for the Cubs, the Giants hitters have had just as much a difficult time with Arrieta as the Cubs have had with Bumgarner. Buster Posey is a mere 1-for-15 against Arrieta. Pagan has had the most success versus him going 5-for-11with a double. On the season against San Francisco Arrieta went 1-1. In the 13 total innings he pitched Arrieta limited the Giants to three runs while striking out 15 batters. The Cubs will need Arrieta to go inning-for-inning against Bumgarner until the bullpens can get into the game.