Chicago Cubs: What looked like the makings of yet another postseason collapse, the 2016 team proved they were not like the teams of Cubs past
10.12.16. The story of the 2016 Cubs postseason run began with an epic series against the San Francisco Giants. Taking the first two games at Wrigley Field, which saw Javier Baez hit a game-winning solo shot in Game 1 and a Travis Wood home run in Game 2, the Cubs needed just one more win to advance to the NLCS as the series shifted to San Francisco. Game 3 ended in heartbreak as the Cubs lost the lead in the eighth inning and eventually lost the game in extra innings, setting up Game 4. John Lackey against Matt Moore.
Veteran catcher David Ross provided both Cubs runs in the first eight innings with a solo home run and a sac-fly, but they trailed 5-2 in the ninth. Moore pitched eight innings of two-run ball and struck out 10 Cub hitters on 120 pitches. If Chicago could not pull off a miracle, they would have to play a winner-take-all Game 5 at Wrigley Field and likely face both Johnny Cueto and MadBum. Giants fans were all up and loud as they felt like “even year” magic was unfolding for them yet again. The Giants had roughly a 97 percent win change entering the ninth. Not. So. Fast.
Enter the shaky Giants bullpen.
Derek Law comes in and gives up a single to Kris Bryant. Javier Lopez replaces Law and walks Anthony Rizzo. Sergio Romo replaces Lopez and gives up an RBI double to Ben Zobrist, cutting the San Francisco lead to 5-3. Will Smith replaces Romo and gives up a game-tying RBI single to Willson Contreras. Jason Heyward bunts, forceout at second, but Heyward makes it to second on Brandon Crawford throwing error. Hunter Strickland replaces Smith and gives up a go-ahead RBI single to Javier Baez. Ross grounded into a double play to finally end the inning.
Cubs went from 5-2 down to leading 6-5 in a matter of five pitching changes. The visitor’s dugout was going nuts as they were on the verge of the NLCS. It was not time to celebrate just yet though, the Giants still had three more tries to tie or win it. Aroldis Chapman would shut down the Giants as he struck out Gorkys Hernandez, Denard Span and Brandon Belt all swinging to clinch the series and advance to the NLCS. One of the best comebacks seen in a modern postseason game.
This marked the first time in team history the Cubs made it to the NLCS in consecutive years.