The Chicago Cubs head back to Wrigley Field today ahead of Game 3 of the NLCS down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. But they still have one more run in them.
When the fastball that Justin Turner drove out for a game-winning blast left John Lackey‘s hand, I closed my eyes and waited. In fact, I didn’t see it leave the bat – but I heard it – and knew immediately the Chicago Cubs faced a 2-0 series deficit.
Now we can go back-and-forth and beat the decisions from Game 2 into the ground. One of the best accounts of the evening’s misfortune comes to us from Brett over at Bleacher Nation – so check it out.
In short, Joe Maddon tapped veteran John Lackey instead of bringing in Wade Davis to get the critical ninth-inning outs. His 44-pitch, high-stress outing from Game 5 of the NLDS no-doubt played a big role in this decision, but, regardless, with how things played out, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
During the regular season, Lackey led the league in home runs allowed – so it’s only fitting Turner took him deep to bring Los Angeles within two wins of their first pennant since 1988. But there is a lot more to dig in on regarding Game 2 than just the final pitch of the night – a meatball served up to a dominant postseason performer.
No – I don’t agree with Maddon’s decision to use Lackey in that spot. But I also accept that he likely had information at his disposal that I – even today – do not. But that, in my mind, is not the only deciding factor in how Sunday night played out.
That, my friends, begins and ends with the Cubs’ offense.