Although Javy Baez and Jon Lester each rightly got their due for contributing in serious ways to the Cubs’ game one victory over the Giants last night, there is at least one other Cub who merits special mention.
David Ross, 39, is nearing the end of his playing days. Having announced that this would be his final Major League season, Ross has been honored by the Cubs and by the fans, and he’s doing his part to return the favor already this postseason.
Last night, the Giants got their leadoff batter on in each of the first three innings. None of them scored. And two of them were erased from the basepaths by none other than David Ross.
First, after reaching on a nice bunt to lead off the game, Gorkys Hernandez tried to steal second base:
David Ross said nah.
The speed with which Ross handles the transfer and throw there is incredible. It was not an easy pitch to snag in the throwing motion, but Ross not only pulls it off, but he gets the ball to Addison Russell in so much time that Hernandez never even gets to the base.
In the third inning, after Conor Gillaspie led off with a single, the Cubs got ready to do what they do when a pitcher bunts in that situation – Anthony Rizzo crashes, the second baseman (Javy Baez, in this case) covers first base, and they try to cut down the lead runner. Except they had a trick up their sleeve on the first pitch, which was executed with aplomb:
That was a called play, as you could tell by the pitch out, and Ross and Baez combined to execute it perfectly. When done that way, especially with the pressure created by Rizzo’s skill in charging, the runner is really hung out to dry – he has to get a huge lead to try to get to second base, but when the Cubs go for the catcher pick-off, he can’t let himself be *too* far.
In the future, teams should probably just let their pitchers swing the bat.