posted 8 years ago
It's not just the walks.
OK, it's primarily the walks. But free passes weren't the only mistakes that hurt Cubs pitchers in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. And it's not the only problem they need to correct on Thursday. The Cubs, and specifically starter Ryan Dempster, did in fact allow far too many bases on balls in Game 1. However, they also couldn't convert on the rare occasions when they did get ahead in the counts -- and that's just as grave a pitching sin. Chicago hurlers will have to do a better job of getting ahead and of putting hitters away if the Cubs don't want to head to Dodger Stadium in a two-game hole on Thursday night.The Cubs may also need to adjust their approach against Ramirez, unquestionably one of the game's most dangerous hitters. After Dempster got ahead of Ramirez in the fifth, he scarcely even came near the strike zone for the rest of the at-bat.
It's one thing to try to get a hitter to chase an 0-2 pitch or even in a 1-2 count. But, at some point, you have to throw strikes - and not just strikes, but quality strikes. The Cubs threw too few strikes, and too few quality strikes - to Ramirez and to everyone else. It has to change, and soon.