A lovely ending to a lovely game to a lovely weekend to a I’m gonna go punch the wall and go to sleep. I’m not sure how coherent this will be …
After 18 innings, you barely remember all the little things – heck, the big things – that you just watched in the game. You just knew it was going to have to take something ridiculous for one of these teams to finally score, and unfortunately it happened for the Yankees: a Willson Contreras error got the Yankees the baserunner that finally became the winning run.
The Cubs put two on in the bottom of the 18th, but because everyone was used up, the deciding batter … was Kyle Hendricks. He did not win the game.
Offensively, the Cubs looked lifeless all night, save for a Javy Baez homer, and the 9th inning, when they managed to score three on Aroldis Chapman (when was the last time that happened?), with the tying run coming home on a bases loaded Anthony Rizzo hit by pitch. Taking a Chapman fastball off of the left wrist is not how you wanted to see the game tied, and it looked like Rizzo was in a good deal of pain. He stayed in the game, but looked to be in serious discomfort the rest of the way, and we’ll have to see how things shake out tomorrow.
The Cubs had a great chance to win things in the 12th inning after Rizzo – incidentally – doubled to lead off the frame. Unfortunately the Cubs got burned in the inning by a particularly, egregiously bad strike three call to Addison Russell that clearly should have been ball four. At the time, it seemed like a really big deal. And then six more innings happened.
Then a bunch of other stuff happened, and it was a frustrating blur. The Cubs, it turns out, were playing a man short, as Jason Heyward was unavailable (knuckle). Given that they went through multiple pitchers batting before Heyward, that should tell you a bit about just how unavailable he was.
Jon Lester was at his best tonight, especially after the first inning, when he was putting the ball right where he wanted it, and getting a ton of swings and misses. That was exactly what the Cubs needed, and if not for a Kris Bryant throwing error in the 7th inning, Lester would have left a tied 1-1 game after his seven innings of work.
Lester wound up going 120 pitches, and the ones at the end of the outing were of the high-stress variety. While he was pitching well enough in the moment to justify the decision to stick with him, that’s a whole lot of pitches in an early May outing for a 33-year-old who has pitched deep into the postseason two years in a row.
About that 7th inning run: it scored on an Aaron Judge triple on which Jon Jay got turned around. It’s impossible not to wonder, when you see a play like that, whether Albert Almora or Jason Heyward (if healthy) makes that catch. They probably do. Again, this is something that seemed like a big deal at the time, but then 11 more innings happened and it all washed away.
The Yankees got their third and fourth runs on a Jacoby Ellsbury homer off of recently-recalled Justin Grimm, who now has a HR/FB ratio near 40%. That can’t last, one way or another.
The bullpen was otherwise really good in this one, but is now even more torched than it already was.
The teams combined for a Major League record 48 strikeouts. It was just an awful showing, and the fact that the Cubs lost completely robbed the game of any of the quirky joy I might have otherwise taken from it.
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