The Clubs–er, Cubs–go to the NLCS

The party didn't stop for hours after the Cubs bludgeoned the Cardinals to one side.

The party didn’t stop for hours after the Cubs bludgeoned the Cardinals to one side.

Believe it. The Chicago Cubs have clubbed their way into the National League Championship Series. How long it takes the St. Louis Cardinals to recover from this one is left best to the crystal ball hustlers and card tricksters.

How long it takes before these Clubs wake up from this peculiar dream—they’ve never before clinched any title in their home playpen, and the way they did it could get them charged with human rights violations—might be left best to the same.

Joaquin Andujar, RIP: There was just one word . . .

Andujar, en route to helping beat the Brewers in the 1982 World Series . . .

Andujar, en route to helping beat the Brewers in the 1982 World Series . . .

“In baseball,” Joaquin Andujar once posited, “there’s just one word—you never know.” It was an expansion of a comment he’d once made to Sports Illustrated‘s Steve Wulf, in which he said his favourite English language word was “you never know.” For Andujar, who died at 62 Tuesday after a long battle with diabetes, his favourite English language word could also serve as the epitaph to his pitching career.

Williams’s Nats looking booked and cooked

Matt Williams, to whom the Book is too sacred when it needs to be set aside . . .

Matt Williams, to whom the Book is too sacred when it needs to be set aside . . .

Let’s not be too polite about it. The team every expert on earth picked in spring to win the National League East, with no few of them picking them to go all the way to a World Series ring, is doing its level best to make chumps out of every one of those experts. That’s because manager Matt Williams seems to be doing his level best to make sure they don’t even get to the wild card play-in game.

Of Cardinal sinners and Royal stuffers

Is hacking for the Redbirds?

Is hacking for the (Red)birds?

Boys will be boys, in baseball and elsewhere, and grown men will be boys, too. But some of what the Show Me State’s boys and girls seem to be showing don’t seem to be the kind of thing you’d like showing.

If the St. Louis Cardinals’ front office isn’t facing an investigation into whether people therein hacked into the Houston Astros’ internal data networks, Kansas City fans are gleefully stuffing online All-Star ballot boxes in favour of the Royals regardless of whether the players in question deserve to be in the starting lineup.

Alex Johnson, RIP: The fires within

When Whitey Herzog wrote his memoir You’re Missin’ a Great Game, he included remarks about Alex Johnson that must have dropped every jaw in southern California who remembered Johnson’s tempestuous tenure (to put it politely)┬áin an Angel uniform. To hear the White Rat say it, Johnson—who died 28 February at 72, after a battle with cancer—was anything but a handful, once you played things straight with him.

Alex Johnson proudly holding a ball with his title-winning 1970 batting average.

Alex Johnson proudly holding a ball with his title-winning 1970 batting average.

The “Golden Era” committee nominates ten for Cooperstown

Dick Allen, when he was a young, tortured, and torturing Phillie . . .

Dick Allen, when he was a young, tortured, and torturing Phillie . . .

Gil Hodges is getting another crack at the Hall of Fame. So are Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, and Maury Wills. So is Bob Howsam, who built the Big Red Machine. Thank the Golden Era Committee, one of the three committees mandated to replace the former Veterans Committee to review the Hall of Fame credentials of those who didn’t quite make the Baseball Writers Association of America cuts in the past.

Oscar Taveras, RIP: The next minute . . .

Oscar Taveras tying Game Two of the NLCS with a launch over the right field fence . . .

Oscar Taveras tying Game Two of the NLCS with a launch over the right field fence . . .

One minute, you’re sent out to pinch hit in a National League Championship Series and tie the game with a single swing. The next minute, seemingly, your team is stopped from a World Series trip and you’re dead in a grisly road accident.

The Giants are thrown onto the threshold of the Series

Adams didn't have to be told throwing on the run was a grave mistake . . .

Adams didn’t have to be told throwing on the run was a grave mistake . . .

Is it unreasonable for Cardinals fans to ask themselves whether their team is trying, literally, to throw this National League Championship Series to the Giants? Bad enough the Cardinals lost Game Three on a walk-off throwing error. Putting the Giants on the threshold of the World Series with two bad throws in Game Four’s sixth inning is worse.

Molina down, the Cardinals may have lost in winning Game Two

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

At what cost will the St. Louis Cardinals’ National League Championship Series-evening win Sunday night prove to have come? As great as it looked when Kolten Wong ended the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, that’s about how horrible it looked when another swing earlier in the game sent Yadier Molina out of the game—and out of who who knew what else—with an oblique strain.

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.