Taking a few pitches in the first inning of last night’s game might have added a couple of runs to the Cubs’ early rally. Mike Hampton was on the ropes, and the Cubs helped him out by swinging at anything within cell phone range of the strike zone.
Eric Karros, in particular, looked bad in his first couple of at-bats against Hampton, who settled down and handled the Cubs pretty easily after the first. Karros redeemed himself with a few nifty pickups of wild Aramis Ramirez throws from third base, and a gutsy battle with John Smoltz in the eighth that resulted in a base hit up the middle.
Take heart, Cub Nation. It’s a three-game series now, and the next two are at Wrigley Field. To win, the Braves will have to beat Mark Prior and possibly Kerry Wood, which won’t be easy. Personally, I’d like to see Matt “Weird Chin Beard” Clement be a hero, shut down the Braves in game four, and save Wood for the first game of the NLCS.