Well. That was certainly a 2016 Chicago Cubs baseball game. Crazy moments. A late comeback. Many extra innings.
The only difference was that in the rest of 2016, the Cubs won pretty much all of these games.
By the end of this tough one to stomach, it almost became hard to remember that the Cubs held the lead in the 8th inning with perhaps the best closer in baseball coming into the game. The reason the Cubs have Aroldis Chapman is so that things like what happened don’t happen when it matters most. But, hey, baseball don’t care about your plans.
The Cubs got out to an early 3-0 lead against Madison Bumgarner and the Giants tonight thanks to a Jake Arrieta homer, but the offense couldn’t add on from there until the 9th despite many opportunities.
Still, the Cubs held a 3-2 lead into the 8th thanks to a solid performance from Arrieta on the mound. But Travis Wood and Hector Rondon allowed the first two batters to reach, Aroldis Chapman came in for the six-out save … and he recorded only the first. Conor Gillaspie – the Wild Card hero – dealt the big blow, a two-run triple. Another couple baserunners later and Chapman was yanked.
Kris Bryant got the Cubs right back in it with a dramatic, two-run homer in the 9th inning. Then the Giants were within inches of walking the game off in the 9th when Albert Almora Jr. made a diving catch on a Buster Posey liner that was slicing toward the wall, and would have scored a sprinting Brandon Belt from first base. Instead, it was a game-saving double play.
The teams traded scoreless innings from there until the 13th. Mike Montgomery carried the Cubs for that stretch, and anyone who remembers anything other than him being awesome is flat wrong. In the end, the Giants got a couple doubles in the 13th (after the Cubs failed to score with two runners on and one out), and that was that.
There will be second-guessing from this one. The decision to start the 8th with Wood, then Rondon, then go to Chapman. The decision to bring Chapman into a non-traditional one-inning save situation. The decision to hit Arrieta in the 6th inning with a runner on second base and one out, rather than go with one of the lefty bats available on the bench. The decision to go with Montgomery for a fifth inning, rather than switch to Carl Edwards Jr. I don’t know that any of those decisions rile me up that much (the last doesn’t really bother me at all), but I know what the talking points are going to be.
It was a wild game, but ultimately a real bummer of a loss. We’ll talk about it more tomorrow. Here, it’s 3am, and I’m supposed to be up with the kids at 6am.