What a thrilling game, right?
*Brett’s butt has still not unclenched*
It couldn’t just have been me that was rapt and tense throughout that one (despite the fact that I told myself in advance that it was just like any other game, and an uphill climb for the Cubs).
I think, in addition to the matchup, the fact that the Cubs immediately got a 1-0 lead on a leadoff homer by Willson Contreras, and then immediately saw rocket after rocket from the Nats find a Cubs glove really put me on edge from the word go. Then, of course, you had a bottom of the 9th that saw the Cubs blow a 5-0 lead and put the tying run on third and winning run on second base … yeah. Tense.
The Cubs took advantage of the Nationals bullpen to tack on some ultimately EXTREMELY NECESSARY insurance runs, as Hector Rondon and Wade Davis combined to breathe life into the Nats before Davis struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end it.
Eddie Butler pitched five scoreless innings, though he was about 10 combined feet from giving up four home runs. There is something to be said for giving up no walks, but there is also something unnerving to be said about that much hard contact, and one solitary strikeout (of the opposing pitcher). I’m glad the Nationals didn’t score off of him, but the concerns I registered earlier today remain after that one.
After Butler, the Cubs’ bullpen locked things down until the 9th, with an especially impressive inning from Carl Edwards Jr. as he sliced through the middle of the Nats’ order.
Offensively, the Cubs got their second run on a perfectly executed safety squeeze by Albert Almora (#SometimesBunt), which came after Javy Baez beat a fielder’s choice at second base and then stole third. Baez also drove in a run in the 9th with an opposite field double. He was also brilliant in the field, making a couple great catches, including one of the best you’ll ever see at shortstop.
Thank goodness I wrote a lot of this before that bottom of the 9th, because I can barely gather enough thoughts to actually finish this up. Tense. Yes. Tense.