Had the Cubs pulled out last night’s game, there would have been at least four incredible moments from the game to remember. The Jake Arrieta homer, of course, was a big one. We watched and enjoyed.
There were three more that I wanted to make sure folks saw if they somehow missed them, or watched them again if they didn’t. They are, well, not as fun now as they would have been with a win, but they are no less impressive.
Starting with a Javy Baez play up the middle that maybe-probably should have been overturned on replay, as it looked like Anthony Rizzo’s foot came off the base. But the call stood, and, either way, what Baez did to backhand this ball and make an off-balance throw was Javy-esque:
He just does these things with such frequency that we’re almost numb to how crazy good these plays are.
Then there was Kris Bryant’s absolutely exhilarating, game-tying homer in the 9th inning:
The ball just barely squeaked out past that car advertisement on the outfield wall – which actually bumps up the wall at just that spot (lame!). At 342 feet, it was not a typical Bryant bomb, but that was one of the highest homers you’ll see this year (which is reminiscent of Bryant’s 2015 homer style). At 42 degrees, apparently that was the highest-angled homer in the postseason in the Statcast era.
Finally, of course, one of the best catches you’ll ever see when you consider the moment (if the ball gets down, the game is over), as Albert Almora Jr. robbed Buster Posey of a would-be game-winner (you’ll have to excuse the fact that the video first shows the catch he didn’t make in the 8th inning – a play you probably don’t want to see right now):
That ball is a rocket, slicing away from a guy who’d just come into the game, and he sells out to make the grab. Almora gets up to complete the double play, prevent the walk-off, and send the game to extra innings. If the Cubs had won the game, that’s one of those plays you see in Cubs highlight packages for decades.
As it stands, it’s an incredible, impactful, huge play … that was rendered something of a briefly-enjoyable footnote.