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Giants vs. Cubs: What we learned from the NLDS

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OCTOBER 14, 2016

It was a wild ride, but four games and 40 (yes, 40) innings of baseball later, the Chicago Cubs bested the San Francisco Giants and are headed to the National League Championship Series. Here’s what we learned in the NLDS:

  • Curses are made to be broken. Well, baseball world, you got your wish: Even year bullshit is dead. Those who were beliEVEN now can’t EVEN, and at their expense, the curse of the Billy Goat could be as close as eight short games from being broken. It was clear that the Cubs were the better team from the outset, but Giants fans had to think that against all odds, the even year magic that carried them to three World Series titles would come through yet again.
  • The Giants’ bullpen can’t hold a lead to save its lives –– literally. To say we learned that fact only in this series would be the understatement of the season. Not only did the Giants hold the top spot for blown saves this season (30), they also led that category among all playoff teams since 1969. If any game was representative of the Giants’ entire 2016 season, it was certainly game four: eight brilliant innings from deadline-acquisition starter Matt Moore, a comfortable three-run lead going into the ninth inning and then … mayhem. The group of five Giants relievers who manager Bruce Bochy sent to the mound in that disastrous ninth inning combined to allow four hits and a walk, which was not well complemented by a fielding error by shortstop Brandon Crawford.
  • Aroldis Chapman has not lost his mojo. When the infamous hard-throwing lefty entered the eighth inning of Game 3 on Monday night, the Cubs had a one-run lead. By the end of the inning, the Giants had taken a two-run lead. As a pitcher with a 1.55 ERA during the 2016 regular season, this is not typically how Chapman’s services work. Thus began 24 hours of panic for Cubs fans –– could their blockbuster trade deadline acquisition be the source of their postseason downfall? The answer, they would come to find in Game 4, was no. Chapman came in to relieve Hector Rondon in the ninth inning and proceeded to adeptly strike out the side in order. Take a deep breath Cubs fans: He’s fine.
  • If the Cubs go all the way, the starters will take them there. With what is inarguably the deepest rotation in baseball, and three long days of rest for their starters, the Cubs are in good position heading into the NLCS this Saturday. Throughout the NLDS, the four Cubs starters averaged a mere 1.75 runs allowed per game. As if that weren’t enough, they’re hitting the ball too. In Game 2, Kyle Hendricks singled to center to score two runs. Two nights later, Jake Arrieta’s three-run homer in Game 3 came close to being the difference until the Giants mounted a comeback in the eighth.
Contact Adriana Ghiozzi at [email protected].

OCTOBER 14, 2016

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