With the Chicago Cubs down 5-1, the most unlikely of heroes came forth on Star Wars Day. Taylor Davis. Hitless all season, he picked the perfect time to get his first–a grand slam–to help the Cubs battle back.
So let me start with this. I’m an optimist. With brain cancer, you have to be. Being a Chicago Cubs fan? It’s also necessary. Before yesterday’s game, I wrote a piece about the Cubs’ Yu Darvish coming off of a better start, and how he could win some of his detractors back in a rivalry game. He did NOT do that. If anything, he only created more.
In his defense, it wasn’t a ‘beating’ he took. The diving attempt from Albert Almora Jr. was a tough break. But again, walks were his enemy. Darvish issued five of them, and you can’t win with that many free passes. For him, he didn’t win. But the Cubs had other plans for the team.
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Michael Wacha came into this game having poor success at Wrigley Field, and against the Cubs, in general. But after a first that saw him allow a run, Wacha was on point until the fourth inning. It was as if he could feel it inside him. But I’m sure that he never expected the Cubs’ backup catcher, Taylor Davis, to be the one that got him. The hitless Davis, at that.
But a first-pitch cutter that stayed in the middle of the plate turned into Davis’ first hit, a home run and first four-RBI on the year. I’m not sure it matters who’s in the jersey. If it’s Cubs, Wacha is in trouble.
The slam gave Darvish a chance to go back out and redeem himself with the game tied. But again, that didn’t happen. Darvish walked the first two batters. He didn’t record an out in the fifth after getting a chance at redemption. Now the bullpen was going to need to pull a rabbit out of their hat–and it turned out to be a beautiful bunny.
With the rotation covering much of the last two games, and a day off in-between, Joe Maddon knew they were rested. And he took full advantage.
Allen Webster was the first, as he forced a long flyout to Jose Martinez, who already launched one off of Darvish earlier in the contest. He then hit Yadier Molina to load the bases. Maddon then made the change and went to Kyle Ryan, who is slowly making his way into Maddon’s circle of trust.
Then, in the eighth? The Javier Baez show came on. It never runs at the same time, so you always have to have an eye out when it does. This episode? Game-winning home run. An oppo-taco to boot.
The Chicago Cubs will play the series finale on ESPN for their Sunday Night Baseball telecast. Adam Wainwright (3-2, 3.73) will take on Jose Quintana (3-1, 3.48), who has been one of the Cubs most consistent pitchers this season. With a win, the Cubs would take over first place in the Central by a half a game.