The Chicago Cubs finally put more runs on the board than their opponent in this series, as they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 3-2. The victory was the Cubs’ first of the series, and it keeps them alive in the 2017 postseason.
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras started the offensive fireworks, as he launched a mammoth solo home run to start the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd inning. His 491 foot blast not only ricocheted off of the left field scoreboard, but it is also the longest home run of the postseason so far by a wide margin.
The leader on the offensive side of the ball for the Cubs was, surprisingly, second baseman Javier Baez, who had been hitless in the entire postseason entering tonight’s game. He must have been staying off of the fastball against Wood, because he did not miss on a pair of off-speed offerings as he launched a pair of solo home runs in each of his first two plate appearances. His first solo shot came in the 2nd inning on an 83 MPH curveball, and his second blast came in the bottom of the 5th inning on an 84 MPH change up.
Despite Javy’s bat finally coming alive, Jake Arrieta was the player of the game for the Cubs. He gave them an absolute gem in this one, and it was exactly what the doctor had ordered for this Cubs team. He went 6.2 strong innings in this game with 9 strikeouts, 3 hits, and 1 earned run. Arrieta’s performance was key not only in this game, but in how well rested the bullpen will be in the next game as well. His 111 pitch outing allowed most of the reserve arms to rest after a lot of heavy usage over the first three games of the series.
The bullpen did not fare as well as their starter, and that has been the case over the entire postseason. Brian Duensing needed just two pitches to record the final out of the 7th inning, which was as good of a result as the Cubs bullpen has gotten over the playoffs. Regular closer Wade Davis came in to start the 8th inning and those 3 outs were more eventful than many would have expected, even for an elimination game.
Davis did not have his sharp stuff going early on and it was evident as he left a fastball up in the zone to Justin Turner, who turned it into a loud solo home run. On a bizarre play against Curtis Granderson – who appeared to swing and miss at a pitch for what would have been strike three – third base umpire Eric Cooper overturned the call made by home plate umpire Jim Wolf and ruled it a foul ball. As the left field video board showed the play on a loop, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected for excessive arguing. Davis went on to walk two batters in the inning, and was able to get out of the inning without allowing any other damage.
The 9th inning went better for Davis, though he still struggled with command at times. He struck out Austin Barnes to start the inning, and it looked like he had started to figure things out on the mound. Then he lost his command again, walking Chris Taylor to put a runner on first with one out. And after throwing a pair of poor pitches to go down 2-0 in the count to Cody Bellinger he was able to get a groundball double play to end the game and give the Cubs their first win of the series.
The Cubs now trail the Dodgers 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, and have forced a 5th game that will be played Thursday night starting at 8:00 PM ET.
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