Thanks to the elation and endorphins from last night’s NLDS-clinching win, I couldn’t get to sleep until well after the game was over – not that much earlier than the night before, in fact, which was a game that lasted until nearly three hours later.
And yet, there’s a decided spring in my step today. I can’t shut off the smile, and even the yawns morph into excited utterances as I remember what I watched last night.
Speaking of which: What’s so amazing about that win is that it was not only a playoff clincher or a final-inning win or a crazy comeback … it was all three of them. The way history remembers the series and that game will change based on what happens over the next few weeks, but that could be one for the ages.
- It didn’t hurt that it came with magical narrative, ending the Giants’ streak of never losing in the playoffs in the last four (well, now three) even years. About that, Giants writer Grant Brisbee beautifully illuminates why the even year thing was never real in the first place. Neither is the Cubs’ curse. I don’t begrudge any fans who want to talk about these things in these ways, it’s just that, in the moment of the day’s game, I can’t step outside the analysis, the probabilities, the scouting, the pitch selection, the defensive alignments. You can bet I’ll get philosophical when the thing is over, but in the game-to-game, you’re not going to see me talking about jinxes or 2003 or 1984 or anything else besides the things one group of players can possibly do while playing stickball against another group of players. Sometimes, despite all cosmic signs to the contrary, a game like last night happens.
- We kept waiting to see this terrible Giants bullpen we’d heard so much about, because, in both of the previous NLDS games that required bullpenning, the Giants’ group looked pretty dang good. Last night, five different Giants relievers tried to finish off in one inning what Matt Moore had done so well the eight innings previous. Did all five pitch poorly? Not necessarily – because sometimes that ground ball finds a glove – but I suppose there were some “law of averages” kinds of things at play. That, plus a whole lot of fortuitous sequencing for the Cubs.
- How about Joe Maddon’s maneuvering in that 9th inning, by the way? He sends up Chris Coghlan in Addison Russell’s place against Sergio Romo, knowing that Russell might struggle against that slider, and also knowing that as soon as Coghlan was announced, Bruce Bochy would go with lefty Will Smith. Then Maddon got to send up Willson Contreras, who hit .311/.354/.500 off of lefties this year.
- And some love for the Cubs’ bullpen last night – although Travis Wood allowed a couple inherited runners to score, he did not give up any runs himself, and then Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon, and Aroldis Chapman followed suit.
- This year’s was certainly more dramatic, but when you throw in the history and the rivalry, I can’t help but wonder if last year’s clincher against the Cardinals was just as exciting and fun. Go back in time and check it out here, remembering the Baez homer, the Rizzo homer, the Schwarber video board blast, and the Rondon strikeout. Chills.
- A two GIF reminder that Theo Epstein is a lot like you, before and after the 9th:
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 12, 2016
- Munenori Kawasaki and Jon Lester party it up after the win, and you’re gonna need a NSFW warning here on the language:
劇的逆転勝利で、2年連続リーグ優勝決定戦進出を決めたカブス！ムネリンより早速喜びのメッセージが届きました。a video message of joy from MUNE！(^○^) pic.twitter.com/z920MRIc3O
— ムネリン通信〜Mune Kawasaki (@MuneKawasakiWB) October 12, 2016
- A bit of the party outside Wrigley Field last night:
— Sandra Torres CBS 2 (@SandraTorresL) October 12, 2016
- The win expectancy chart for that game via FanGraphs makes me weep with joy:
This is a thing of freaking beauty. pic.twitter.com/i7CAsO1APV
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) October 12, 2016
- As Michael pointed out on Twitter, that had gotten to as low as 1.7% for the Cubs. The improbability of that comeback, paired with it being a clinching playoff game, and coming against the Giants after their playoff run … again, I just can’t overstate how incredible that is.
- I love these videos:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 12, 2016
- I hope you’ve already seen Javy’s fun moment, but if you haven’t:
Bobble gum. pic.twitter.com/BqRQXT0kye
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 12, 2016
- And an obligatory link to the Cubs fan shop on Amazon in case you want to stock up on more gear for the extended playoff run.