It’s a crazy year.
It is a year in which the Chicago Cubs posted their best record in ages, tallying 103 victories in the win column and entering the playoffs as the heavy favorite to win it all. The northside and beyond believes this year, 2016, is the year that the Cubbies put an end to 108 years of misery by taking home their first World Series title in over a century.
Which makes it important to note: It is also an even year.
And to nobody’s surprise but my own (because all Giants fans like myself got skeptical after a 30-42 second half), the San Francisco Giants are back in October looking like the team we all have come to know in the era of even year magic. They won a do or die contest on the road. Madison Bumgarner threw a complete game shutout. And
Cody Ross Marco Scutaro Travis Ishikawa Conor Gillaspie hit a three run homer in the ninth off the NL save leader after Noah Syndergaard looked like he was going put a hammer on San Francisco’s playoff hopes.
Two destinies now collide. The Giants, the Cubs, and five game series in between them to decide who advances to play either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Washington Nationals in the NLCS. Do the Cubbies keep the 2016 dominance alive, or do the Even Year Giants troll the baseball world once again by murdering Chicago’s hopes and dreams of a championship after a six month period of Wrigleyville hype?
First things first, if you’re the average baseball fan, you should be scared of the Cubs. They’re deep, maybe even deeper than the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Arrieta, Hendricks, Lester, Hammel, Lackey…..that’s just an unfair starting rotation. Factor in Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and company on the offense, you should be paralyzed in fear. Thats entire lineup that can go Yabo at any given time, and a group of aces who could probably make a lineup consisting of Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire and Alex Rodriguez look silly. Things look good if you’re a Chicago Cubs fan.
Until you remember that you’re playing a team that is arguably the most experienced playoff team of the decade and finds ways to come out of the grave at any given time: the San Francisco Giants. They’re the recurring bad dream, the freaky clown who keeps peering in through your bedroom window 365 nights a year. They’re your worst nightmare, the pesky cockroaches, the team that specializes in sending you home depressed in the postseason before the first blizzard of the winter hits. And they’re back against a team that everyone thinks will win the World Series with ease this fall.
And while they might not exactly be as deep as the Cubs, their players should scare you too. Madison Bumgarner may be the greatest postseason pitcher of all time with ERA under 1.0. Johnny Cueto is pretty good too, and beat the Cubs at Wrigley just last month. Matt Moore is having a career resurgence at just the right time, nearly no hitting the Dodgers in August. And oh would it be the most fitting thing of all time if Jeff Samardzija came back to Chicago to murder his old team? I think so.
Also, Buster Posey should scare you. He’s pretty good in the postseason. Hunter Pence also hit two homers at Wrigley Field this season. Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt may constitute one of the best 1B SS duos behind Rizzo and Russell. And this year the Giants have bestowed the no-name even-year hot-hitting pixie dust upon Conor Gillaspie – the least likely suspect to come through clutch when it’s all on the line against the Miracle Mets.
But anything can happen in the postseason, much less a five game series. The Cubs have been clinched and out of playoff mode for the last three weeks. The Giants played survival mode all the way up to game 162 and have a train of momentum from Wednesday’s win, and that could be a huge advantage. Just look at the Jays dominance of the Rangers up to now following that wild walk-off win on Tuesday.
Both the Cubs and the Giants were only able to snag one win in their opponents parks during the regular season too. Nothing can be ruled out. Not in this series.
So does order rule over chaos? You’ll have to see for yourself. This could easily be a five game series, and I predict that it will indeed go the distance. I don’t know who will win, but you can read this article if you want to know any more of my thoughts.
It’s going to be lit.