Flag night a banner night for Rizzo and the Cubs

Rizzo led the celebration parade with the World Series trophy aloft after a rain-delayed opening Monday night . . .

Rizzo led the celebration parade with the World Series trophy aloft after a rain-delayed opening Monday night . . .

It figured. Really. Who else but the Cubs could come home from a season-opening road trip, prepared to hoist their World Series championship flag, and have it delayed by rain?

This rain delay lasted a lot longer than the one during which Jason Heyward pulled his mates to the clubhouse for the pep talk that led to the Cubs breaking the Game Seven tie and holding on to win game, set, and Series five months ago.

There’s only one real reason for the Cubs to lose

Kershaw v. Hendricks---a Game Six epic looms but there's only one real reason for the Cubs to lose . . .

Kershaw v. Hendricks—a Game Six epic looms but there’s only one real reason for the Cubs to lose, and it isn’t wearing a Dodger uniform . . .

My friend and Internet Baseball Writers Association of America patron Howard Cole, writing for Forbeshas forged a splendid argument as to how and why the Dodgers are going to sweep National League Championship Series Games Six and Seven in Wrigley Field this weekend. As is his custom, Mr. Cole deploys faultless logic and analyses from intellectual strength.

“That history thing” is lost on these Cubs . . . so far . . .

Baez (left) and Russell celebrate after Russell's second two-run bomb in two NCLS nights . . .

Baez (left) and Russell celebrate after Russell’s second two-run bomb in two NCLS nights . . .

You’ve heard it until you’re almost as sick of hearing it as you might be sick of watching Dodgers relief pitcher Pedro Baez pitch. (He takes so long between pitches it’s rumoured the Cubs might pay Mike Hargrove royalties to call Baez the Human Rain Delay.) You know. The Cubs haven’t been seen in a World Series since two months after World War II ended.

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.

For the Cubs, Game Four means just . . . adjust

Rizzo with what's left of his bat en route beating out an infield hit in the ninth---with the Cubs swinging like they might as well have shattered bats all NLCS long thus far . . .

Rizzo with what’s left of his bat en route beating out an infield hit in the ninth—with the Cubs swinging like they might as well have shattered bats all NLCS long thus far . . .

Forget about the Cubs’ bats being unable to wait for another late-game drama. After Tuesday night in Dodger Stadium, they can’t wait, period.

“When you don’t score,” said Chris Coghlan, after the Dodgers shut the Cubs out 6-0 in Game Three of the National League Championship Series, “you’re not in control of the game, and you’re going to lose. That’s just going to be a fact. But I think when we get some runs and push them across, then obviously, that’s how you get control of a game. That’s what we did all year.’

The Cubs’ bats can’t wait for another late-game drama

Rizzo and most of the rest of the Cubs' bats need to return from the dead pronto . . .

Rizzo and most of the rest of the Cubs’ bats need to return from the dead pronto . . .

It isn’t exactly time for traditional watchers for Cubs calamity to calibrate their instruments. But the Cubs’ lineup is becoming cause for just a wee dollop of alarm, even as the National League Championship Series shifts to Los Angeles tied at a game apiece.

A team with baseball’s best regular season record who finished third in Show in runs scored on that season should be doing better at getting men across the plate. Even with those late-game dramas that got the Cubs here in the first place.

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 Cubs screw with and slam the Dodgers’ gutsy thinking

Montero, upending a gutsy Dodger managerial move and ensuring paid-for steaks in Chicago for life if he wants them . . .

Montero, upending a gutsy Dodger managerial move and ensuring paid-for steaks in Chicago for life if he wants them . . .

You understood what Dave Roberts was thinking. Now, try to understand the net result. Wrigleyville may not quite understand it even if it worked out in their favour—and they were there.

I say again—this is the sort of thing that used to be done to the Cubs, not by them. Every Cub in creation must have thought, “Boy, that guy has no fear!” Something Roberts proved to get his Dodgers to the National League Championship Series in the first place.

Dealing the last wild cards, and hearing the last of a lyricist

What does it say that Vin Scully was shown the love even by the Giants' home audience?

What does it say that Vin Scully was shown the love even by the Giants’ home audience?

Vin Scully ended his broadcasting career in the home ballpark of the Dodgers’ age-old rivals, receiving an affectionate pre-game visit from Willie Mays, awash in a sea of placards (THANK YOU VIN) and maybe the only known standing ovation ever afforded a Dodger in San Francisco. His final words were as gracious as you might have expected from this excessively modest man who always seemed to believe his gift from God was merely something on loan.

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.