The Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants went to battle for a five game series. The teams battled on multiple occasions and this series brought some extreme high points on both ends. From the game 1 pitchers duel, to the game 3 extra inning duel, both teams through knockout punches to only be matched. The Chicago Cubs just had the resilience to beat a veteran team of winners. Neither team rolled over in times of adversity and both showed they know how to play this game. So lets recap this series with some of the biggest highlights.
Game 1 brought us Jon Lester vs. Johnny Cueto at the friendly confines. Lester and Cueto consistently went out and put up scoreless innings. The Giants just made to many mistakes on the base paths. David Ross picked off a runner on first in a weird shift formation that helped the Cubs wiggle out of a jam. Both teams made key defensive plays to keep their pitchers shutouts alive. It just came down to one bad mistake by Cueto.
This was a huge swing in a tight ball game that ended up proving to be the difference. Just like the game score the Cubs were up 1-0 in the series.
Going into game 2 with Hendricks on the mound at home, most Cubs fans like me felt confident. I mean he lead the N.L. in ERA for the year, but when Hendricks took a comeback liner off the elbow things didn’t look to good. Luckily at that point Hendricks had already singled in 2 runs on his own. After Travis Wood entered the game and delivered his huge solo home run, the Cubs had all the run support necessary to lock up a W.
Back in San Francisco game 3 was set up to be another pitchers duel. A late start in a pitcher friendly ball park with Jake Arrieta taking on the best playoff pitcher of all time, Madison Bumgarner, but like this series, things were not typical. Madison Bumgarner was not himself, by the end of the 5th the Cubs held a 3-0 lead off of a Jake Arrieta blast. This was the first time Bumgarner had allowed a run in 24 postseason innings. This game had the feeling of a sweep but the Giants were not done. They battled back and by the 8th it was 3-2. Thats when Joe Maddon went to Aroldis Chapman for a 6 out save. Here’s the result of that.
This game looked to be over until Kris Bryant stepped up and barely snuck a ball over the wall to tie this game at 5. After 4 extra innings the Giants would prevail off a Brandon Crawford double, and a Joe Panik walkoff double. After this game many believed that the curse was back, 2-1 series.
Game 4 still in San Francisco looked grim for the Cubs from the beginning. After the 5th inning the Giants held a 5-2 lead and most Cubs fans were preparing for Lester vs Cueto part 2. It took all the way to the 9th inning for the Cubs lineup to come alive. The inning started off with a Bryant single and a Rizzo walk. Zobrist stepped in and delivered a double down the line. All the sudden its 5-3 with runners on second and third with nobody out. Thats when Wilson Contreras stepped in
After the Contreras single, Jason Hayward laid down one of the worst sacrifice bunts to only be bailed out by a error from one of the best defensive short stops in the league. Sound familiar? (See Alex Gonzalez 2003 NLCS). Hayward eventually scored the winning run off of a Baez single.
This series really was one built for the Championship level. Where the same old Cubs would have fell apart, they seemed to come together. This was a impressive out of a veteran team who has a tremendous track record. I am trying not to get to excited, but it truly is hard to do this time of the year. The Cubs roll on into the NLCS to face the winner of the Nationals Dodgers series. As always continue to #FlyTheW