The most powerful bunt in Cub history, if not all time

Zobrist dropping the bunt that launched a Cubrising in Game Four.

Zobrist dropping the bunt that launched a Cubrising in Game Four.

Entering National League Championship Series Game Four, even Dodger fans wondered whether the Cubs would bother showing up. By the time the game was over, the set was tied at two games each, and the Cubs finished a 10-2 bludgeoning of the Dodgers, Dodger fans were sorry the Cubs did show up.

Twenty-one straight scoreless innings was more than the Cubs were willing to dine on. And to think the barrage began with a beautifully timed bunt to open the top of the fourth, by the lineup’s number four hitter, one of the Cubs on whose behalf people were ready to send out search and rescue teams to try finding his bat.

Seven isn’t Kershaw’s unlucky number anymore (we think) . . .

"The seventh inning? In a postseason game? And I came out of it alive? I'm going to Disneyland!!!!"

“The seventh inning? In a postseason game? And I came out of it alive? I’m going to Disneyland!!!!”

Look, ma—it went to the end of the seventh inning. And Clayton Kershaw wasn’t in flames when the inning ended.

Kershaw needed Game Two. He wasn’t exactly pitching on short rest. If you counted from his Game Four start in the division series, and considered his off-the-chart two outs of closing relief in Game Five—sending the Dodgers to this National League Championship Series in the first place—equivalent to a between-starts bullpen session, he actually pitched NLCS Game Two on regular rest.

The calls of the wild and a wild Dodger ninth

Gonzalez launches the game winner . . .

Gonzalez launches the game winner . . .

You could hear Dodger Stadium groan in the top of the third Monday night. An unearned Giants run that began with a steal and ended with a wild pitch was not supposed to happen when the Dodgers—behind Clayton Kershaw, yet—got crack number four at Madison Bumgarner this season.

You could hear the ballpark groan a little through the howls as the Dodger seventh ended, and Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig had a little debate following the inning-ending out Puig made on a checked-swing infield grounder. A debate apparently provoked by Bumgarner himself.

The Dodgers have the Padres in search of a run

Let's be Puigs about it: two triples in two games on the Padres' dimes . . .

Let’s be Puigs about it: two triples in two games on the Padres’ dimes . . .

Leaving spring training, a fair number of observers wondered whether their early crowd on the disabled list would leave the Dodgers in a wee spot of trouble to open 2016 in earnest. Not to mention how the Dodgers lost their last five spring exhibitions, including an embarrassing Freeway Series sweep in which the Angels outscored them 15-3.

Take my advice and don’t ask the Padres what they think, after opening the season against the Dodgers being shut out twice and destroyed once.

Season on!

Take that, Donaldus Minimus!!

Take that, Donaldus Minimus!!

Let history record that the first run batted in of the 2016 season was delivered by a pitcher. At the plate. A pitcher who’d had only three runs batted in in his entire career (nine seasons) prior to last year, when he drove in seven. And his name wasn’t Madison Bumgarner.

Let history record further that Clayton Kershaw was the beneficiary of the worst Opening Day blowout in major leaguer history a day later. And, that Bryce Harper rocked the best postgame cap around the circuits. So far.

Did Mattingly misread Kershaw’s tank?

Carpenter's three-run double off Kershaw raises questions about Mattingly's read of his ace and his arms . . .

Carpenter’s three-run double off Kershaw raises questions about Mattingly’s read of his ace and his arms . . .

It seems that Detroit isn’t the only city this postseason fated to have nervous breakdowns when it’s time for their team to call the bullpen. Los Angeles may be fated to reach for the nerve tonics in similar times, if Friday’s National League division series opener in Dodger Stadium was any barometer.

This is the Thanks David Ortiz Gets?

Bobby Valentine (left) high-fiving David Ortiz (right) during the season . . . watch your back, Big Papi . . .

David Ortiz was one of the Red Sox players, however few they were, who didn’t join in, at once or pretty much ever, when Bobby Valentine’s divide-and-conquer managing and public relations style divided an injury-and-confidence wracked team and metastasised the toxins in a clubhouse still poisoned by the September 2011. And this is the thanks he gets?

Valentine sat for an interview with Bob Costas, of NBC, that aired Tuesday evening, and Valentine called Ortiz a quitter in every conceivable phrase that didn’t use the word explicitly.

Valentine, Like Queeg, Convicted Himself

Valentine’s reign of error is over . . .

This is not to suggest that any known or alleged president of Red Sox Nation should proclaim, “Our long national nightmare is over.” But it is to suggest that the Red Sox and their minions can go to sleep tonight not having to wonder whom Bobby Valentine threw under the proverbial bus this time, if not shooting himself in the proverbial foot yet again over some actual or alleged slight or accusation.

The Big Dealers, Thus Far . . .

Now that Josh Beckett has won his first game as a Dodger, maybe it’s a good idea to see how those involved in the biggest deals—non-waiver trade deadline and waiver deadline period alike—have done since pulling those triggers. We’ll list them by the major players who moved:

Sobering Up with the Red Pox

Remember when Idiots weren’t bad things?

In the wake of the 2004 World Series, I wrote, for a since-defunct publication, “[S]omething seems not quite right about the literature of the Boston Red Sox turning toward triumph and away from tragedy.” Specifically, I was reviewing Faithful, Stewart O’Nan’s and (yes, that) Stephen King’s collaborative, end-to-end chronicle of viewing that year’s extraterrestrial Red Sox. And I was trying to say this: A near-century’s literature of transcendental disaster, usually upon the brink of the Promised Land but not necessarily exclusive to it, could only become a literature of transcendental triteness, now that the Red Sox had won a World Series, in my lifetime and every other Red Sox Nation citizen’s.