Tonight’s Game: Cubs (2-1) Vs Giants (1-2) at Willie Mays Field, 5:30 pm
John Lackey Vs Matt Moore

The Starting Lineups

1. Fowler CF
2. Bryant 3B
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Zobrist RF
5. Russell SS
6. Heyward RF
7. Baez 2B
8. Ross C
9. Lackey P

1. Span CF
2. Belt 1B
3. Posey C
4. Pence RF
5. Crawford SS
6. Gillaspie 3B
7. Panik 2B
8. Blanco LF
9. Moore P

I’m still exhausted from the euphoria and near-death experience of last night’s game. That’s what four hours of sleep and a tidal wave of up and down emotions will offer you… The Cubs are two games from elimination after last night’s loss. A win today for the Giants and the series is evened up with the psychological advantage clearly going to our boys from San Francisco.

The Stage Is Set for Act IV

Bernard Malamud could not have scripted last night’s game any better. Tonight’s game is Act IV: Mr. Lackey, the former Angel and Giants-killer who has resurrected his career impressively, faces the Giants in another elimination game at Willie Mays Field. For the Giants, Matt Moore will get his first taste of postseason Giants magic. The powerful left-hander will seek to earn his place in the Giants mythology of October greatness. The command of his fastball and his ability to locate his pitches and avoid the powerful barrels of the Chicago bats will be a central factor that determines if the Giants will travel to the Wrigley Field to play a decisive game 5 on Thursday.

The are many points of interest in this game in addition to the series win. The Giants must find a way to come down from the high of their dramatic victory and focus for another tough must-win game against an opponent whose pride was wounded. The Cubs will be playing with a drastically diminished bullpen thanks to the extra innings pitched by the likes of Chapman, Montgomery, Strop and others. The Giants appear to have the edge with arms that have seen fewer pitches thrown. This will be the second game at Willie Mays Field and the Giants will want to feed off the euphoric energy of the crowd to keep the initiative and further imbue the Cubs with 108 years worth of existential doubt.

The Major League Record Winning Streak for Elimination Games

The Giants have won ten elimination games in a row. Pause for a moment and digest that sentence. That’s ten wins in a row in games where the season is over with a loss. That the Giants have won ten of them in a row is a staggering accomplishment that goes against all forms of rational thought and statistical probability. That’s like getting heads on ten consecutive coin tosses. It is just not supposed to happen, especially not in the postseason against great baseball teams. There is something in the temperament of the Giants and their coaching staff that thrives in critical situations. Each victory builds on the team’s confidence going into the next game. Right now the Giants are in the midst of a freakish run of success combined with good fortune. Embrace it fans. Give thanks for it because this is a record that may never be broken. Two more wins and then we begin to start exploring our relationship to higher powers… This is getting serious…..

Some Questions

1. Will the Giants extend their Major League record consecutive winning streak in elimination games to 11?
2. How will the Cubs bullpen fare after getting exploited and heavily-used last night?
3. How will the Giants hitters attack John Lackey’s off-speed pitches and work to maximize his pitch count?
4. How will Matt Moore handle his nerves and emotions in his first playoff start as a Giant?
5. Will Buster Posey continue his hot hitting and produce extra base hits in dramatic fashion for a victory?