I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do a sufficient job summing up just how truly bizarre that game was. It was 13 innings of nonsense. Because the Cubs ultimately won, of course, it was DELIGHTFUL nonsense. But, yeah, nonsense just the same.
John Lackey wasn’t at his absolute best, but he pitched perfectly well enough tonight. Remember, although the Brewers’ pitching is (theoretically) bad, their lineup isn’t all that bad.
The Cubs had chance after chance after chance to put runs the board, and continuously failed to come through thanks to a combination of bad decisions, poor situational hitting, great Brewers defense, and some plain old hard luck.
If you were looking for at least one harmonizing theme in tonight’s game, it would be “extra outs on the bases.” For the Cubs, it was double pays. For the Brewers, it was TOOTBLANs. (The Cubs had one of those, too.) Those times out on the basepaths for the Brewers, by the way, all came courtesy of David Ross, who was a freaking machine behind the plate. Four times he took out a runner on the basepaths, and he left the game before extra innings.
Early in the game, the Cubs had a great scoring opportunity with runners on second and third, one out, and hot-hitting Addison Russell at the plate. But, for some reason, Russell was called upon to try and bunt in a run, and he failed to execute. It was a strange call, and it cost the Cubs.
In the 9th, Russell once again came up with runners on second and third and one out, and this time a grounder to second got the run home. That was nice, since the Cubs had been down 1-0 at the time. But some odd decisions by Joe Maddon kinda dampened the inning: pinch-running Javier Baez for Anthony Rizzo, who’d gotten on base to start the inning (it’s something Maddon has done many times before, so whatever), and then pinch-hitting for David Ross with Miguel Montero with two outs, first base open, and the pitcher’s spot behind him (i.e., ensuring that the best bat Maddon could put up there was Tim Federowicz).
Still, the game was tied and headed to extra innings, where things really got weird. The Cubs wound up using every player on the roster in this one, except for the other four starting pitchers. Trevor Cahill was called upon to try and win the game with a runner on second base – I mean, as a pinch hitter. Kris Bryant and Javy Baez traded places – and gloves! – on the diamond, in the middle of an inning, a couple times.
The peak of the weirdness was clearly the bottom of the 12th inning, which saw the Brewers load the bases on an error, a walk (which featured only about two balls actually outside the strike zone), and another walk. Then, Travis Wood wiggled the Cubs out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam by getting three pop ups, with Cubs defenders moving all over the place.
Then, in the top of the next frame, Wood came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, and drew a walk to score a run.
Then, Maddon still had to use three pitchers in the bottom of the 13th inning to finish it out. What a strange, frustrating, fun, silly game. Baseball, man.
It’s 1:30am where I am. And I’m out.