Coppola: Chicago Cubs Learn The Confines Are Not So Friendly As Indians Take Game 3

Game three starter for the Cubs, Kyle Hendricks pitched well with an 89-90 fastball a 88-89 sinker, an 80 change-up that cuts one way and 82 circle change that fades and drops the other way. His sinkers and change were at times nasty. He also benefited by the stretched out strike zone of umpire John Hirshcbeck but not enough to help him get past the magic pitch count number of 85 pitches as the Indians had six hits by the fifth inning.

Then he loads the bases in the fifth inning with only one out. Cubs manager Joe Maddon had no choice but to go to the bullpen. Justin Grimm made Maddon look like a genius as he got a bases loaded double play to end the inning.

Indians Starter Josh Tomlin had very good command of all his pitches giving up only two hits into the fifth, throwing 58 pitches 38 for strikes. He throws what you would call a ‘Mystery’ ball. Looks like something your Aunt Mary would throw, but no one can hit it.

And then there is Andrew Miller, who is having a playoffs performance for the ages. Holy smokes, he is Halloween scary and the Tribes MVP this post season by far. You could make an argument for the entire Indians bullpen as Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen have also been lights out. Even though he took the loss, I like this 24- year old kid Carl Edwards JR. of the Cubs. He has a real live arm.

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has a cannon for an arm and quick, good baseball instincts, as he can pick runners off, throw them out trying to steal and in general keep them close to the bags. That’s the good. Now the bad. Rajai Davis has had some brain bubbles as he threw home in game two when he had Kyle Schwarber doubled off of second and then tries to go first to third on a short single to right in the sixth inning.

Wakeup man! Lonnie Chisenhall needs a GPS to find fly balls in right field. And who would’ve thought that playing at home would hurt a team. Not having the DH in the National League park will keep (Babe Ruth), Kyle Schwarber out except for a pinch hitter role.

One of the things that makes this game so great, and like no other game ,is that the human element is so much a part of the game. The umpires are not machines and not exact, and the players make decisions and plays that sometimes make your head spin. One of the problems with all the analytics used in the game is that mathematics can not predict the human judgments made in the game by umpires and players.

You have to admit, though, that this series has everything we could ask for. These Indians are like mosquitoes on a beautiful summer night. You have a lot of friends over for a party and here they come to bite and make everyone uncomfortable. They managed to squeak a run in and get their fifth shutout in 11 post season games.

Now going up two games to one with their ace Cory “KKKK” Kluber pitching Game 4 which only makes it harder for the Cubs. Shoot, Chicago’s biggest hit of the night came in the bottom of the seventh when Bill Murray in a Cubs tradition sang “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”
The Cubs counter with their seasoned veteran John Lackey who needs to go deep in the game without giving up any runs. He is old school tough and well rested, but watch for him to lose some velocity around 75 pitches. That is when he can be scored on. So forget about that other game this weekend and enjoy baseball at it’s best.

Congratulations to Curtis Granderson for being awarded this year’s Roberto Clemente award. We are so lucky to have him in New York over the past seven years. Good Man.

Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and last week completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.

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