Let me start by saying that the Cubs played a good game.
Now, I have been going to Cardinals games since 1964, but I have never attended a Cardinals playoff game. And since they were playing the Cubs and I was able to get playoff tickets due to having had Cubs season tickets for over 20 years, it seemed like the time to do so. :)
If only Mike Winters, the home plate umpire, had not decided that the lower third of the strike zone was the sole possession of the Cubs pitchers. A Cardinals pitcher might throw the ball there, but it would not be called a strike. And since the wind was blowing out, down
was where you wanted the ball to be.
But instead, the Cardinals were forced to throw the ball up, because Mike Winters was not only unable to call anything resembling the rule book strike zone for the Cardinals, but he also
happily called a much more normal
strike zone for the Cubs pitchers.
The results were about what you would expect, as the Cubs set a record with six home runs and won the game 8-6.
It is possible to win a game when you are the victim of an umpire like Mike Winters. But you have to be a much, much
better team than your opponent to do so. And as banged up as they are, the Cards can't manage that.
I understand that this will sound somewhat like sour grapes. But if you're interested, here's
the strike zone plot for the game.
(Note that the Cardinals were given some outside strikes up in the zone. That is, however, not where you want to be throwing the ball, because if you miss "up", the ball has a nasty tendency to leave the ballpark. *sigh*)