It’s Harden or Go Home

Tonight Rich Harden will throw the most critical game of the Cubs season so far. ESPN’s Bruce Levine came up with this stat: Harden is 34-0 in his career when his team scores at least 4 runs. So the offense will need to show up, Harden will have to throw his usual game, and Lou will have to manage like this is a playoff elimination game. He can’t let his starter work out of repeated jams (like allowing Dempster to walk the bases loaded twice in game 1) – everyone is available – there is no tomorrow.

Ideally if Harden can give us 7 strong “Rich Harden-type” innings, then Marmol and Wood can do what they’ve done all year, then we go to Game 4 on Sunday. If Harden only has 5 or 6 innings in him, Lou has slotted Ryan Dempster for middle relief. But any way you shake it, the offense has to step up for a win to be possible.  And don’t forget Hiroki Kuroda shut the Cubs out on June 6th this year.

Joe Girardi was Sports Central with David Kaplan last night. He told a story of how when with Yankees they were facing elimination and being swept. Joe Torre’s message to the team was to just go out and win one game so they don’t get swept. Just one, to maintain their self respect. The Yankees went on to win the series.

So tonight it’s Harden or go home. 

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    October 4, 2008   Posted in: game day, game strategy, observations, playoffs

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