After the San Francisco Giants won game 3 of the NLDS 6-5, many of their fans were belEVEN in their “even year magic” and were expecting to bring the series back to Chicago tied 2-2. The Chicago Cubs though had other plans.
The game could not have started any worse for the Cubs. Their slide in the eighth inning of game 3 carried over to the start of game 4. Matt Moore was having his way with the lineup. Granted David Ross was doing all he could to keep the Cubs alive with his solo homer to tie things 1-1 and then his sac fly to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Giants. But that was pretty much all for the Cubs until the ninth inning.
John Lackey was not on his game giving up three runs in his four innings of work. Justin Grimm was less than stellar, giving up two runs in his .1 inning of work. But the rest of the bullpen kept the Cubs in the game long enough for them to stay in the game.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy will take heat from the Giants fans for removing Moore after the eighth, but at 120 pitches that was the right move for his pitcher. However that is where the game fell apart for him and the Giants.
Five pitchers later, the Cubs generates the biggest post season comeback in the ninth inning of a clinching game in baseball history.
The goat (no pun intended, other than the jamoke who brought a goat to the game) was Brandon Crawford. All due respect to Addison Russell, Crawford might be the best defensive short stop in the game and is the reigning gold glove winner at shortstop. His two errors led directly to the Cubs scoring two runs, including the winning run in the ninth inning.
But the hero of the game for the Cubs was Javier Baez. Defensive webgems aside his base running this game was fantastic. On Crawford’s first error of the game in the fifth inning Baez not only respected 90, he respected 270 making his way all the way to third waiting to be knocked in on a Ross sac fly. Then of course he drives in Jason Heyward who is the winning run.
Honorable mention to Willson Contreras for driving in two runs in the ninth to tie the game 5-5 and Aroldis Chapman who redeemed himself picking up he save after striking out the side.
Baseball is a chess match and Joe Maddon won that chess match last night.
This was a fun series, and now we get a few days off. Both the fans and players need these days after this series. The National League Championship Series starts Saturday against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Washington Nationals.