Cubs

Cubs offense gets back on the roller coaster again in World Series

Cubs offense gets back on the roller coaster again in World Series

The Cubs have been shut out in four of the last eight games. 

In the four games in that span in which they scored, the Cubs plated 28 total, an average of seven runs per game.

Another way to look at it: When the Cubs score in an National League Championship or World Series game this October, they're 4-0. 

Friday, as Wrigley buzzed from the first World Series game there in 71 years, the anxiety filtered onto the field where the Cubs expanded the strike zone at the plate and got off their game in a 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

"We were out of the zone way too often," Joe Maddon said. "We've got to get our strike zones organized offensively and if we do, we'll be fine.

"Just watching some of the replay there before I came over and a lot of our strikeouts obviously were us chasing pitches. We've got to do better than that."

As they have with every other shutout this postseason, the Cubs tipped their cap to the opposing dugout.

Friday night, it was Josh Tomlin, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.

It was the same formula the Indians have used all October - good starting pitching followed by a dominant bullpen - en route to setting a new record with their fifth shutout this postseason.

"When you're facing good pitching, sometimes it happens," Ben Zobrist said. "We didn't have a lot of opportunities today. ... We just didn't square a lot of pitches up.

"I wish I had one more at-bat [against Tomlin], to be honest. But I think they got him out of there at the right time, because another time through the lineup and we probably would have gotten to him there.

"They just had a few more drop at the right time and they scored that one run. Otherwise, we would still be playing."

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

The wind was howling out to left field all night, generating a lot of conversation about how a routine fly ball up in the jetstream could wind up a few rows back in the bleachers.

The Cubs admitted it can mess with hitters when they "lick their chops" in hopes of slugging one out onto Waveland, as Zobrist said, but they weren't using that as an excuse.

Whatever the reason, the Cubs got off their gameplan of trying to pass the baton on offense, churning out quality at-bat after quality at-bat.

"It's just about getting that next guy up and knowing it takes one guy to do it," Anthony Rizzo said. "Collectively as a team, we did not do that."

With the tying run on third base and the winning run on second, Javy Baez struck out to end the game, chasing a high fastball out of the zone from Allen.

The Cubs have been here before, answering questions about how they feel after falling down 2-1 in a series and getting shut out twice in the first three games.

Of course, the Cubs went on to win the next three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and they have that same confidence now, even with Indians ace Corey Kluber ready to take the ball in Game 4.

"Probably won't say anything, to be honest," Zobrist said. "We'll just go about our business like we normally do. We know that last time we faced Kluber, he was really good. So nobody's gonna be assuming we have it all figured out.

"We're gonna try and have quality at-bats and assume he's gonna make mistakes and we're gonna take advantage of him."

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: