Whew, watching the first inning of the game last night was tough going. It was entirely within the Cubs power to knock Hampton out of the game without him scoring an out, but they didn’t do it. They benefited from the complete gift of a run via the play at home (Javy clearly had successfully blocked the plate but the safe call was made nonetheless) but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. The Chicago media here in town kept saying stuff like “unlikely hero” about Mark DeRosa, apparently unaware that he has made clutch plays like that for the Braves with startling regularity for the last few years. He ain’t unlikely to me, he’s just like the rest of this team of solid pros – he shows up to play and more often than not gets the job done. The bench on this team is quite deep. When Giles gets hurt and you have to put in DeRosa, it’s not the end of the world.
I’m hoping that on Friday playing at Wrigley will really light a fire under former Cub ace Greg “Mad dog/Old dog” Maddux. Maddux and Glavine were always the two worst offenders at underperforming in the post-season. Of all the Braves big guns pitchers, only Smoltz in his starter days was consistently good in the big games. I love playoff baseball and I love my team(s) to be in it, but my stomach knots up until either the World Series or till the last team I care about is gone (see “Subway Series” for a postseason I didn’t care about.)