Last night’s game provided us with eighteen innings and over six hours of baseball. It was the longest inter-league game in history. So yes, we’re just now getting to the recap.
The first two games of this series were pretty rough. In the first game, Brett Gardner hit the game-winning home run in the top of the ninth inning. In the second game, Miguel Montero got in to pitch. The third and final game of the series would be no different. Well, maybe it was a little different. It was the baseball equivalent of running a marathon only you just couldn’t finish those last .2 miles.
The Cubs once again gave up a first inning run. Jon Lester gave up two singles and a walk that led to a Starlin Castro fielder’s choice scoring Aaron Hicks. The Cubs first inning earned run average actually fell from 11.40 to 11.32. That is not a typo. Of course, it’s only May and we shouldn’t forget that at this point last year the White Sox were five games up on the Indians in the AL Central. We all know how that turned out.
In the bottom of the third inning, Javier Baez stepped to the plate and tied the game up with a skyrocket homer. In fact, it was so high that left fielder Aaron Hicks had no idea where it was and just stood in the outfield with his arms open to the sky as the ball flew over his head. Baez has been struggling and it was good to see him finally look more like the Javy we know he can be.
The Yankees took a one run lead in the top of the seventh inning when Aaron Judge tripled off the wall to score Starlin Castro. It was a ball that flew over the head of Jon Jay as he made an awkward attempt to catch it, never getting himself into position. It would’ve been a tough catch but it was one that should’ve been made.
In the top of the 8th, with Justin Grimm pitching, the Yankees added two more runs off a Jacoby Ellsbury home run. With a 4-1 lead and Aroldis Chapman looming it seemed like the game was all but out of reach for the Cubs.
When Chapman got on the bump in the bottom of the ninth he immediately walked Addison Russell and surrendered a single to Jon Jay. Albert Almora and Javy Baez hit back-to-back singles, each driving in a run to narrow the Yankees lead to one.
After an intentional walk to Kris Bryant to load the bases, Chapman proceeded to hit Anthony Rizzo on the forearm with a 100 MPH fastball. It seemed to hurt Rizzo quite a bit but he stayed in the game. More importantly at the time, the game was tied.
And then the game went to extra inning. And more extra innings. And MOAR EXTRAS. The two teams played 18 long, fairly uneventful innings. In fact, there were only seven combined hits for both teams in the nine innings of extra baseball.
Finally, at about 12:45 AM CST, Starlin Castro hit into a fielder’s choice which scored Aaron Hicks. The Cubs threatened in the bottom of the 18th after getting two walks, but Kyle Hendricks, who was pinch hitting for Pedro Strop, struck out to end the game.
Stats that Matter
- There were 48 strikeouts in the game. That’s a record for most strikeouts, dating back to 1971.
- They ran out of baseballs during the game and had to bring out new ones. Thankfully, they had some extras otherwise they may have needed to gather up the balls hit into the stands.
- The Cubs sent three pitchers up to the plate to pinch hit: Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks. It was only the 15th time since 1913 that has occurred.
This series was brutal and this loss is going to test the mettle of the Boys in Blue. The Cubs not only played a game that lasted over six hours, they then hopped on a flight to Denver where they’ll play the Rockies later today. They have to be exhausted. Their bullpen is completely taxed. Thursday’s day off can’t come soon enough. They’ll have to dig deep in Colorado.
The Cubs play the Rockies at 7:40 CST on Monday. Jake Arrieta (4-1, 4.63 ERA) will take the hill for the Cubs.