Does David Bote know how to walk a game off or WHAT?!
After a roller coaster affair that had me writing (and re-writing (and re-re-writing)) this enhanced box score many times over, the Chicago Cubs came out on top, sweeping the double-header, and guaranteeing just their third series win of the year. Against the Dodgers, no less.
Javy Baez brought us into extra, extra-innings with a monster two-run shot, and David Bote (would it be anyone else?) walked us off. Again. Ah. What an absolutely great ending to the night.
NOW. For the rest of it.
Could Kris Bryant (and the rest of the Cubs offense) saved us a bucket of sweat and about 3 years off our lives with just a little extra oomph at the right time tonight? Uh, yeah. Bryant had two chances with the bases loaded and a full count early in the game, striking out both times (and also popped out with the winning run on-base in the bottom of the 8th) while the Cubs were, overall, 0-15 with runners in scoring position heading into the bottom of the 7th inning.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the year in the top of the 7th inning (after allowing the extra-inning runner to score in his last appearance, too). And that’s not the half of it.
While the game should have been over LONG before Dillon Maples even had a chance as the unlucky reliever to inherit an automatic runner on second base in extra-innings, it did get there. And he did exactly what we were all worried about: uncorking one of the wildest pitches I’ve ever seen that allowed the lead runner to score from third base. And even that barely mattered, because immediately after, Justin Turner hit a moonshot that gave the Dodgers a late and devastating 3-1 lead.
Side note: I get that Maples has been much better lately (1H, 1BB, 9Ks, and 0 earned runs in his last 5.2 IP before tonight), and I would have been fine with him taking a “high leverage moment,” generally speaking, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable with him in those extra inning opportunities when a runner starts in scoring position. The odds/risk of a wild pitch is just too high. Unfortunately, the Cubs had already used Rex Brothers, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel. So it was either him or (1) Kyle Ryan, (2) Alec Mills (probably being saved for tomorrow, just in case), (3) Justin Steele (who was fresh off a 2HR/3ER relief performance), (4) Kohl Stewart (who wasn’t with the team until today for a reason), or Maples. So, actually, Ross might’ve made the correct choice.
But, again, none of it matters now.
The Cubs just swept both halves of a double-header against Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, and the Los Angeles Freakin’ Dodgers. I am happy.
About as happy as Justin Steele:
Justin Steele was FIRED UP. 🔥
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) May 5, 2021