Ugh. It’d be much more fun to be writing this in the afterglow of a walk-off win, but a bad slide prevented me from doing so. Listen, I’m all in favor of being aggressive out there and forcing the other team’s hand. As such, I’m not upset at all about Albert Almora breaking for third with one out and two on in the 9th. He just went it headfirst at a bad angle, created way too much friction, and got exposed because the ball didn’t kick far enough away. Ben Zobrist then singled and likely would have scored Almora from second, which is exactly the kind of guesses that are flying around right now.
Of course, the Cubs wouldn’t have even been in position to tie the game with a single run had the defense not stepped up in a big way. First you had Willson Contreras, starting behind the plate for the first time, throwing a tailing fastball to catch Matt Carpenter attempting to steal second with one out in the top of the 9th inning. Not only did the throw fade right into Ben Zobrist’s glove in time to tag the runner on the face several feet shy of the bag, but the ball closely resembled a comet as it arced across the diamond.
And that wasn’t even the best play in which Contreras proved integral that inning. Aledmys Diaz eventually walked in the at-bat that saw his teammate caught stealing, so he was digging for home when Jedd Gyorko doubled off the ivy in left. Kris Bryant, who looks really comfortable out there, played the carom perfectly and threw a strike to Addison Russell, who then relayed to Contreras.
That. Is. Awesome. I suppose you could focus on the 3-2 final score and be upset about things. I won’t stop you. Just know that I’m going to relax in the shade of an 11.5-game division lead and take heart in all the things the Cubs did well. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you, but there’s way too much talent here for this team to end up like Leo DiCaprio in The Revenant all that often.