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Game 1 Review
The Chicago Cubs took Game 1 of the NLDS beating the Wild Card winners San Francisco Giants 1-0 in a spectacular pitching dual. All eyes was undoubtedly on the Cubs as they looked to kick a 108 year drought and bring a World Series championship back to Wrigley Field. While on the other side, the San Francisco Giants fought to the end and actually played a better game than the Cubs leading up to the Javier Baez game winning home run. Johnny Cueto pitched a magnificent game giving up three hits with and 10 strikeouts in eight innings. His only mistake was the home run he gave up. Jon Lester pitched a gem allowing five hits and no earned runs.
Keys To The Game
The Giants have to feel good knowing that they weren’t that good offensively but was outstanding fielding. San Francisco needs to continue to be aggressive batting even though they are facing Cy Young candidate Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks is not as experienced as Lester so being aggressive on the first pitch might rattle the young pitcher. Also Jeff Samrdzija has to manage the game by controlling the pace and not getting in long counts. The Cubs need to have live bats tonight. Instead of attacking, create long counts and get men on base. Manager Joe Maddon needs to do what he does best and have that certain feel for the game to make the perfect decisions. Switch out players, positions and create the energy that will transfer through his players. Hendricks has to make the stage smaller than what it is and paint the corners of home plate.
The X-Factor for the Giants is Gorkys Hernandez. Hernandez must get on base game and get in scoring position for the heart of the order to capitalize. His speed is essential to causing Hendricks to get distracted worrying about him stealing bases.
The X-Factor for the Cubs is Addison Russell. Russell can be huge offensively and defensively. Offensively, he can knock in runs from the fifth spot and still get on base and start a rally for the bottom of the order. He has a knack or getting the clutch hits. Defensively, he has to swallow up any grounder near him not allowing runners on base for the Giants.
Prediction: This game should have more hits and runs scored. The Giants must get base runners in scoring position. The Cubs need to get Samardzija in trouble early. Cubs win 6-3