The Chicago Cubs care not for your Game of Thrones obsession, as they were engaged in their own “epic battle,” as The Wife sarcastically put it when I told her how long this one took. In a game that took nearly six hours, the Cubs finally put something together in the 15th to come out with the win, just barely. It was as wild as I presume the Battle of Winterfell is right now, since I am not, you know, able to watch while I type.
Jose Quintana started this one – remember him? it was a long time ago – and pitched well, though Eduardo Escobar had his number, doing the only damage Quintana would allow, in the form of two homers.
Ultimately, the game was tied at 3 heading into extra innings, and that’s when things got really annoying (well, at least until the final frame). The Cubs had chance after chance in the later extra innings, but their approach in run-scoring situations almost uniformly turned to garbage.
The Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the 12th – an Albert Almora single, a patient Ben Zobrist walk, and a patient Kris Bryant 3-0 HBP – and then Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez pressed like crazy in two very ugly at bats, and a David Bote grounder just barely stayed in the infield to end the inning. Brutal.
Then, the Cubs again had a runner on third with less than two outs in the 13th, but Almora went down and then Willson Contreras tried to steal home on a throw back to the mound.
(After that, by the way, Dillon Maples came in, got two quick outs to open the bottom of the 13th, and then the switch flipped, and he could not throw a strike. He walked the bases loaded, and it was up to Tyler Chatwood to get out of the jam. Which, of course, he did … by just throwing straight 97/98 mph gas down the middle because 2019 is wild, man.)
In the 14th, the Cubs AGAIN had the bases loaded and just one out, but David Bote went way out of the zone three straight times, whiffing twice and dribbling the third to second base for an out at home.
In the 15th, the Cubs AGAIN had the lead runner at third base in the form of Tyler Chatwood of all players, who had doubled – he had to bat – and reached third on an Almora single. But that’s when Joe Maddon and the trainer came out to check on Chatwood, because apparently he was not feeling great. Baseball is so freaking weird. Because THAT’S when the Cubs finally got a hit, in the form of Ben Zobrist’s FIRST extra-base hit of the year, scoring two.
Zobrist also eventually scored, which proved to be critical, because of course, after eight straight would-be-decisive innings of not scoring, the Cubs scored three and the Diamondbacks scored two. And who caught the final out, crushed the wall? Zobrist, naturally. The guy who talked himself out of the starting lineup, only to be switched in late.