Those Five are:
- Weak Middle Relief
- Slumping Sluggers
Comment: The North Siders, down 2-0 in a best-of-7-series, are not out of it yet. The Dodgers are good, but so are the Cubs.
The Cubs have outstanding starters, an excellent defensive infield and catcher, and normally effective power hitting from the first- and third-basemen.
They have a good (one-inning) closer, though Los Angeles has an even better one who can go longer.
In Joe Maddon, we have a savvy, experienced, and calm manager.
But we’ve had erratic pitching between the starter’s exit (around inning 6 or 7) and the closer’s appearance in the 9th. We’ve filled the gap only partially by using starters as middle relievers. Los Angeles has a stronger, deeper bullpen.
And we will suffer offensively until Bryant and Rizzo return to form.
Here’s hoping the Friendly Confines live up to their name as the Cubs return home.