Buchholz: Got to tip your cap to Masterson


Buchholz: Got to tip your cap to Masterson

By MaureenMullen

CLEVELAND In his last two starts, Clay Buchholz has pitched 14 13 innings, giving up just two runs on eight hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. And he has nothing to show for it.

At least in his previous start, May 18 against the Tigers, the Red Sox won the game; they pushed across the winning run after he'd departed. On Monday night, though, there was no luck.

Buchholz left after 7 13 innings with a 2-1 lead and the tying run on second base. Daniel Bard, who had been so steady until a recent rough patch, retired his first batter, then gave up consecutive run-scoring hits to let the Indians take the lead.

Thats why its hard to read into wins and losses as a pitcher, Buchholz said, acknowledging some frustration. Because you can go out there and give up six runs and still win a game. So its tough to read that. But, yeah, feel like when you go out there and throw the ball well you get results but it doesnt always happen like that.

In his previous start, Buchholz threw a career-high 127 pitches. He threw 94 Monday (with 55 strikes), giving him 331 for his last three starts, one above the 330-threshold the Sox prefer.

I told pitching coach Curt Young before the game . . . the last thing I want to do is make Buck work hard in his last inning, said manager Terry Francona. And that's right what we were getting to. He pitched great and its a shame, but we got to take care of him. And I think hes smart enough to know that. The results werent what we were looking for. He pitched his heart out, just, like I said, didnt want him to work. Thats what would be taxing.

In five starts in May, Buchholz is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, giving up six earned runs in 33 innings. He would like to have stayed in to finish the inning. But he realized the situation.

Yeah, Id like to stay in, Buchholz said. But Daniel, hes bailed me out way too many times before not to have confidence in him. So one of those nights. They got a lot of good hitters on that team. Took some good swings. Just a matter of time.

Working against the American Leagues most potent offense first in team average at .266, second in slugging and on-base percentage at .426 and .336, respectively Buchholz could take some consolation in his performance.

That's why their record is what it is, he said. They swing the bats. They pitch well. Indians starter Justin Masterson did a good job tonight, too. You give up two runs you expect to win if you pitch seven, eight innings. Thats just the way it goes sometimes. Came up against another good guy that threw the ball well tonight. You got to tip your cap sometimes.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.