Ah, one of those times I’m extremely happy to have to completely re-write most of this thing.
After failing to record a hit with runners in scoring position all night – after struggling so mightily with that issue over the past two weeks – the Cubs’ first and only such hit came on the final pitch of the night, to, of all players, a pinch-hitting Javy Baez. 1 for 11 on the night. I WILL TAKE IT.
The Cubs were in that position, of course, because Kris Bryant walked and Anthony Rizzo (masterfully) doubled to start the 9th inning. A Willson Contreras pop out later, and Jason Heyward was intentionally walked to load the bases. That brought Albert Almora up, and he hit a tapper that was just askew enough to give Kris Bryant a chance to score to tie the game:
Tie ballgame! pic.twitter.com/as4QA27CBR
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 22, 2019
Baez pinch hit after that, and it was ballgame.
As for the rest of the night, Jose Quintana was very good through six scoreless innings, despite a challenging strike zone (offered by the same umpire who was manning first base last night). Thanks to some fantastic Kris Bryant baserunning, Quintana departed with a 1-0 lead.
The bullpen was unable to hold that 1-0 lead, as the Phillies continued their mastery of BS hits finding grass, but that will happen when the margins are so slim. That is to say, the bullpen is a known issue for the Cubs and they can bear a share of the responsibility tonight, but you’d like to see the offense converting more of those earlier opportunities.
I guess everyone involved just wanted to amp up the drama for the 9th inning comeback. Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!