Javy Báez has been into all kinds of crazy and fun stuff this week, so why not add a walk-off hit to things? That’s the Cubs’ SECOND STRAIGHT walk-off win against the Indians, who probably aren’t feeling so great this evening. Probably shoulda brought the drone back out in the 10th.
Jon Lester got through five innings successfully (two earned runs), and wasn’t really pushing anywhere near a pitch limit, but he was pulled in favor of Ryan Tepera for the 6th all the same. It seems likely that David Ross simply felt Lester was getting hit hard (he was), and decided it was time to leave well enough alone. Given how well the bullpen has been pitching, it sure seemed like a good call at the time, and it proved to be the smart move, as Lester’s two runs were the only runs the Cubs allowed on the night.
Until the walk-off, the story was gonna be about the missed opportunities for the Cubs.
The Cubs had a great scoring opportunity in the 7th, runners at second and third with no outs for the top of the order. But the Indians brought in James Karinchak, a guy who has been by some measures one of the two or three most dominant relievers in baseball, and he struck out Ian Happ and Kris Bryant, and got Willson Contreras to bounce out.
Still, the bullpen held the Indians scoreless through the top of the 9th, but the Cubs oddly went to cold lefty pinch-hitters in the bottom of the 9th seeking a platoon advantage against righty Cal Quantrill … who has massive reverse splits this year. Each of Jason Kipnis (for Cameron Maybin) and Ildemaro Vargas (for Nico Hoerner) stared at meat fastballs, as cold guys off the bench often do, and subsequently recorded outs. It was truly bizarre stuff.
But for the 10th, Jason Adam didn’t allow the freebie baserunner to score (nastily striking out Francisco Lindor to end the inning), and then a Kris Bryant single to lead off the bottom of the 10th put the Cubs in business. An intentional walk to Anthony Rizzo loaded the bases, and then Javy Báez bailed out Willson Contreras (strikeout) and Kyle Schwarber (strikeout) with the two-out, two-strike, walk-off single.