OSS: That was the craziest Cubs’ winner-take-all clincher I have seen since the last time they had a winner-take-all clincher.*
- On a night of shaky pitching performances all around, Wade Davis somehow put together a seven out save to send the Cubs to the NLCS. He didn't have his best stuff, but he brought it for the final at bat by Bryce Harper.
- Addison Russell went 2-4 with a walk and was the Cubs WPA leader on the day. Most of it came from his double down the line in the fifth inning off of Max Scherzer that gave the Cubs the lead. He also ended up getting credit for the Javy Baez strikeout/passed ball/throwing error since he scored the first run, since negative WPA can't be assigned to defensive incompetence. Russell also drove in Zobrist with a double in the sixth and got one of the too-few seeming runs against Gonzalez with an RBI groundout in the third.
- The key defensive play of the game came with Nats runners on first and second in the eighth inning. Willson Contreras back-picked Jose Lobaton at first base, thanks to his foot coming momentarily off the bag. At first (and second through sixth) glance I thought both that he was safe and that there was no possible way the umpires could overturn it based on the camera angles we had, but they called him out. After the break the tv broadcast managed to sync up the two camera angles and it was suddenly much more clear that Rizzo had the tag on when Loabton's foot came off the bag. Great catch by the umps in NY, and I wish the broadcast crews could sync up these angles that quickly.
- The pitching staff walked nine batters in this game, and frankly that was about 50% lower than I would have guessed. The less said about their performance the better. The starters better pitch deep into all of their NLCS games (dying laughing).
- Joe made a lot of miscues in this one, and it would take too much time to catalogue them here. Read the comments on the game thread. Or don't. I can't tell you what to do.
- That said, I'm not too upset about most of them. It feels strange to complain about the offense in a game where they scored nine runs, but here we are (dying laughing). The performance of the rest of the pitching staff probably gives some indication as to why Joe tried to ride Hendricks as long as he did. The Cubs got their big hits (and gifts from the Nats) in the middle innings, but at the time I couldn't help but feel they should have scored way more runs off of Gonzalez. They had the bases juiced in the first and third and came away with three runs on two groundouts and a wild pitch.
Next up: Clayton Kershaw looms in game one of the NLCS on Saturday facing whoever can still lift a baseball. I'm guessing Quintana gets the start since his outing in this game was so short, and Lester probably pitches on three days rest in game two. Game time is 7:00 PM CT.
*hat tip to cerulean