NLDS Game 1: Dodgers 7, Cubs 2

Not Real Happy, No

I waited all summer for this?  The same crappy effort they put forth against Arizona last year?

The entire team basically looked terrible: pitching, offense, defense, across the board.  The 1-6 hitters went 3-for-23 with 1 run, 2 walks, 5 Ks, and 9 runners left on base.  Soriano and Fukudome, the 1-2 hitters, were a combined 0-for-9 with 3 Ks and 0 walks, and Soriano gets the award for Most Ineffective Batter, going 0-for-5 with 2 strikeouts and three weak popups to the infield. Soto, at number 5, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk.  Lee, Ramirez, and Edmonds each managed a single hit.

The 7-8-9 hitters, though, were 6-for-12, with two hits each by DeRosa and Theriot, including the only hit that drove in any runs of the game, a two-run homer by DeRosa in the second.  Even Ryan Dempster managed a hit.

And the pitching was equally bad.  Dempster had no control, and was in constant trouble, and walked 7 in his 4+ innings of work.  In the fourth, he walked the bases full for James Loney, who cashed in the gift by hitting a grand slam.  The relief corps wasn’t much better, except for Sean Marshall, who did a decent job by going 2 and 1/3 innings, striking out 4 and giving up only 1 hit, a homer by Manny Ramirez, but give Ramirez credit, he hit a pitch 6 inches off the ground into the seats,  You can’t hang that on the pitcher.  Samardzija and Marquis pitches the 8th and 9th, and both got hit hard, each giving up a run.

So now what?  Note to Alfonso Soriano … maybe you could put a little more effort into laying off the breaking stuff away, and a little less effort into hopping when you catch fly balls? 0-for-5 isn’t really going to get it done. Perhaps you’ve noticed, you can’t pull breaking stuff away.  So stop trying. Take an outside pitch to right field, or don’t swing at it. The book on you now is “breaking stuff away all day”, and so you have to prove you aren’t going to swing at these pitches in the playoffs, and until you do, that’s all you’re going to see.  You are the leader of this team’s offense, you need to accept that challenge, and become a better team player — especially in the playoffs — by being more disciplined and not giving away 5 outs every game.

And are there any pitchers on this staff that can bring it in the post-season? Dempster looked like he was trying to strike everybody out with one pitch. Zambrano has been shaky for the last two+ months, and has never won a post-season game.  Harden and Lilly, it might up to you two to win each of your starts, to force a game 5 for Dempster to redeem himself.

This level of effort is not going to get it done.  I know Derek Lowe is a good pitcher, and gives them trouble.  And quite possibly, they could rebound tonight and bring a better level of intensity and focus and execution.

We’ll find out over these next 2 games.

So, I don’t know, I’ve just about had enough of watching this October bullsh*t baseball. I think that unless I see some real effort, intensity, and execution pretty quickly here, I’m just about done with this group, with the playing well in the regular season and then looking stupid in the post-season.

I’m not the kind of fan who adores a team and sticks with them in thick and thin; been there, done that, and I finally decided that life is too short to let your emotional state get yanked around by a sports team.  I’m more of a manager-style fan, who demands that a team maximize its potential, and execute, and bring it every game, and play winning team baseball; and what I’m seeing over the last 4 playoff games, going back to last year, is not impressive.  And when I’ve had enough of a team, I “fire” them, which means I might still pay attention, sometimes, when I feel like it, but there is no devotion whatsoever. We’re very close to that point right now.

And so, to this team, and their October performances in 2007-08, let me say this:  you suck, basically.

In October, you need to up the intensity, up the concentration, up the focus, and up the execution!  Use your f**king heads!  Play as a team, like you did all summer, and good things can happen.  Or play like idiots, like you did last night, and cement your reputation as a bunch of choke artists who can’t handle the pressure.

It’s all about the post-season, guys.