Forum Index > enager Paul Molitor said. We came close to putting up another shutout

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The enormous expectations and pressure on the Chicago Cubs might have actually been lessened somewhat by playing the San Francisco Giants?in the Division Series. Kelvin Herrera Jersey. Not because the Giants arent a worthy opponent; quite the opposite, the Giants are rolling again. They have their own compelling story to tell and this series isnt solely about the Cubs and their bid to win a World Series for the first time in 108 years. The Cubs quest remains the primary theme of this postseason, but the surge by the Giants -- another masterful performance by the mythical Madison Bumgarner, Bruce Bochy, Jeff Samardzija, Hunter Pences hair and, from nowhere, Conor Gillaspies home run -- gives people something else to talk about. That is good for the Cubs.Here are five questions.How good is the Cubs rotation?So good, that one potential Cy Young winner, Kyle Hendricks, will have to wait until the second game to make his start after Jon Lester. So good, Jake Arrieta, who has gone 40-14 the last two years, wont start until Game 3. So good, John Lackey, who was signed by the Cubs in the offseason to make critical postseason starts, will have to wait until Game 4. Still, there is a minor concern with Arrieta, though not from him. In his last start, he allowed seven earned runs, the second-most runs hes allowed in a start as a Cub. In his last six starts, he went 2-3 with 21 earned runs allowed in 35 2/3 innings. Hes healthy and more rested than at this time last year. Maybe he has a great October ahead.What is the status of the Giants rotation?It is in good shape other than Bumgarner having to wait until Game 3 to start. The Giants spent last winter and the 2016 trade deadline making sure they had enough starting pitching after Bumgarner. Johnny Cueto went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA, making him one of the best No. 2 starters in the game. After a couple of terrific starts he made in the postseason last year for the World Champion Royals, there should be no more talk of whether he is up for the challenge of the biggest games. Samardzija, who pitched for the Cubs for seven years before he was traded to Oakland for Addison Russell, went 12-11 with a 3.81 ERA this year. Left-hander Matt Moore, acquired in late July, pitched some really good games down the stretch. And then theres Bumgarner, who shut out the Mets in the wild-card game, lowering his road ERA in the postseason to 0.50, a record, by far. He has made 13 postseason starts and allowed no runs in six of them, tying Tom Glavine for the most scoreless postseason starts in history (it took Glavine 35 starts to get his six). A pitcher has thrown a shutout in a winner-take-all game 19 times. Only Bumgarner has done it twice. He has pitched 23 innings in winner-take-all games and not allowed a run. If the Giants can win one of two in Chicago, then hand it to Bumgarner in Game 3, this series could get very interesting.How much better offensively are the Cubs than last year?Remember, the Cubs got shut down by the great pitching staff of the Mets in the 2015 NLCS. That could happen again -- anything is possible in baseball -- but the Cubs are a significantly better offensive club in 2016. They scored 119 more runs than last year, placing them second in the NL in runs scored to the Rockies. Just as important, they struck out 221 fewer times than last year. First baseman Anthony Rizzos approach to hitting -- he chokes up with two strikes and sometimes just tries to put a ball in play -- hasnt gone unnoticed by other Cubs. The addition of Ben Zobrist, who is a tough out, even with two strikes, has made a difference. In spring training, Maddon said he was dazzled by how much better a two-strike hitter Kris Bryant was compared to last season. It showed. It has shown with all the Cubs.Who will close for the Giants?The Giants led the league in blown saves (30). They lost more games (nine) that they entered the ninth inning with a lead than any team in baseball; five of them came in September. They lost 10 games that they led by three or more runs, most in the major leagues. The bullpen blew eight games in which Bumgarner was in line for a victory, most in the major leagues. The bullpen is the primary reason that the Giants went 30-42 in the second half, the worst second-half record ever by a team that made it to the postseason. Sergio Romo, a former Giants closer who got the final out of the 2012 World Series, is seen as the closer now, but even thats not guaranteed. Bochy will mix and match down there. There is no one better at that than him, but its highly unlikely that he will go back to Santiago Casilla, especially at home, where Casilla occasionally gets booed. The Giants had a tremendously deep and effective bullpen in each of their three championship seasons over the last six seasons. They dont have that same depth this year.How good is the Cubs defense?It is the best in the National League. Russells shift to shortstop in June 2015 was the big move. Russell, and the overall Cubs defense, has gotten better with every game he plays at shortstop. Jason Heyward has brought tremendous defense to right field. Javier Baez has provided great defense at whatever infield position he plays. Bryant can play third base or the outfield. This gives Maddon all sorts of options. Defense was Maddons signature with his Tampa Bay Rays teams. He may be a new-school guy with the way he relates to players and because hes the most interesting man in the world, but he is as old school as it gets when it comes to the actually playing of the game. To him, you simply cant win without a good defense.Prediction:?Cubs in five. Lorenzo Cain Jersey. Vettel, who has already clinched his fourth straight F1 title, enters the finale with a chance to equal Michael Schumachers 13 victories in a year and match the record of nine consecutive wins by Alberto Ascari in the 1952 and 1953 seasons. Wade Davis Jersey. PETERSBURG, Fla. http://www.baseballroyalsofficial.com/. Murray beat Sam Querrey 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3 to clinch Britains opening-round victory against the United States on Sunday at Petco Park. "Im proud of the way Im playing just now, because I had to do a lot of work to get back to where I want to be," Murray said after celebrating with his teammates on the red clay court in a temporary stadium in left field of the downtown home of baseballs San Diego Padres. ARLINGTON, Texas -- The way theyre going lately, the Minnesota Twins might want to skip the All-Star break and keep playing.The Twins have won five out of six for the first time this season after taking the opener of a four-game set at Texas. The second game of the series that leads into the All-Star break is Friday night at Globe Life Park.Three of those wins have come over the Rangers, who continue to own the best record in the American League at 53-34 despite five losses in last six.Minnesota (30-55) has outscored the Rangers 32-10 in those three games, all coming since Saturday. The Twins pounded out 18 hits in Thursdays 10-1 win, including three home runs.Theyre certainly enjoying the recent reversal of fortune.Its awesome, said Max Kepler, who has six homers in his last 17 games. Its everything we ask for in a team. Most of all, were all having fun. Everyone is picking each other up. No one is trying to do too much.The Twins look to continue their uptick in a rematch of Sundays matchup between Kyle Gibson and Texas ace Cole Hamels.Gibson (2-5, 4.82 ERA) beat the Rangers in that one, after going 6 2/3 innings, surrendering two earned run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.He has thrown at least six innings in each of his last four starts (Twins are 3-1), and Minnesota pitchers overall have six quality starts in the last seven games.Its been a lot about the starting pitching, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. We came close to putting up another shutout today. Guys are pitching better from top to bottom.The Rangers are hoping for a strong outing out of Hamels. They sure could use one.Texas starters have been shelled lately, especially during a stretch thats seen five losses iin the last six games. Salvador Perez Royals Jersey. No starter has lasted more than 4 2/3 innings in any of those losses, with each allowing at least four runs.We cant continue to cover four or five innings from the bullpen every single night, Texas manager Jeff Banister said. Were going to find a way. I promise you were going to evaluate every situation. Well find a way. Well figure out just how were going better off the mound in a starting role.Banister said there is no magic formula to turn things around.Stomping my feel, screaming and yelling arent going to do much good, he said. There are a number of messages that can be delivered to individuals. The bottom line is weve got to be better. We have to be better. Weve been really good some stretches.Hamels (9-2, 2.93 ERA) could help stem the tide, but even hes coming off this worst start of the season. The All-Star gave up five runs in four-inning stint at Minnesota on Sunday.Hamels is seeking to become first Texas pitcher with 10 wins prior to the All-Star break since Matt Harrison (11-4) and Yu Darvish (10-5) in 2012.Texas injury-riddled staff isnt likely going to get any reinforcements internally anytime soon. Of the three starters on the shelf, Yu Darvish is the closest to returning, but hes probably three rehab starts away from rejoining the rotation.It has been a challenge, Banister said.The Rangers are in the market for starting pitching as the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.Texas should get first baseman Mitch Moreland back on Friday. Hes missed the last five games with tightness in his right calf muscle. Cheap NFL JerseysCheap NFL Jerseys ChinaCheap Jerseys From ChinaCheap NFL Jerseys AuthenticWholesale Jerseys ChinaCheap NFL Jerseys ChinaNFL Cheap Jerseys' ' ' 

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