Although we all pretty much watch every single game here at Bleacher Nation, I (Michael) was busy with some other, back-end stuff during the first-half of this win over the Angels, when Brett asked me to switch to game-coverage. That was the top-half of the sixth inning.
At that point in the game, the Cubs were hanging on by a thread with a 1-0 lead over the Angels. But after that, EVERYTHING got immediately better. You can thank me, the lucky charm, later.
In the bottom-half of the sixth inning, the Cubs plated 5 runs, including FOUR hits with runners in scoring position, plus a sac-fly. And as Sahadev Sharma pointed out on Twitter, the Cubs had as many hits with RISP today as they did in their past SEVEN GAMES combined (and three of those other four hits didn’t even drive in runs!). If nothing else happened today, that would be the story. But so much else happened.
Jon Lester had a huge performance of 7.0 IP with just 1 earned run on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 6Ks, but he couldn’t have gotten there without a HUGE catch from Carlos Gonzalez and a gutsy 108th strikeout pitch with two outs, the bases loaded, and a full count in the bottom of the 7th inning. He was dancing on a tightrope, but managed to pull it off like he does.
On top of that, Javy Baez and Willson Contreras both went deep and had two hits a piece in this one, and Kyle Schwarber had a couple hits up top, as well. Offensively, this was everything the Cubs needed (11 hits, 3 walks, 7 earned runs) and from the mound, Jon Lester’s big performance was long overdue.
And yet all of that falls to the side, because I can’t stop thinking about Carlos Gonzalez’s debut. No, he’s not going to play like this every time he’s out there, but he was on base twice today and scored a run. More importantly, that catch he made in the 7th inning with the bases loaded – really, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now – was everything. Without that out, the Angels would’ve scored at least two more runs than they did and Lester’s night would’ve ended prematurely/on a down note.
But Gonzalez came through BIG time, the bats delivered, Jon Lester delivered, and the Cubs won. Woot.