WHAT A WILD GAME!
The Cubs pulled off a good old fashioned rally and overcame a 10-2 deficit to beat the Braves 14-10 at a frigidly cold Wrigley Field.
There are so many words to describe Joe Maddon's 500th game as Cubs manager, and if I used all of them, we'd be here all day. So let's fast forward to the 8th inning, where the game got really exciting and took a turn for the best. The Cubs came into their half of the 8th trailing 10-5, and what happened from there was pure magic, paired with a major failure on behalf of the Braves bullpen.
The Cubs sent 13 men to the plate in an inning that the Braves needed four pitchers to get out of. The Braves bullpen, which before this game was the best in baseball, lacked command and allowed the Cubs to have a lot of free base runners and even more two out magic.
It all started when Jason Heyward was hit by a pitch. One out later, Tommy La Stella singled to put men on first and second. Efren Navarro stepped up to the plate and struck out swinging. So now the Cubs had two men on, with two outs, and trailed by five. A comeback at this point seemed unlikely, but not impossible. Kris Bryant checked in to take his at-bat, but he was also plunked by a baseball to load the bases for Willson Contreras, who singled to score Heyward, making it a 10-6 ball game. The inning kept rolling along as Braves reliever Jose Ramirez could not find the strike zone and walked Ben Zobrist on four pitches, forcing in a run and making it a 10-7 ball game. After a visit to the mound for the Braves, the inning continued for Javier "El Mago" Baez. The Magician took a 3-2 and hit a sharp liner to center field for a double. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and just like that, the game was tied at 10! But, the Cubs were not done just yet, they wanted to get ahead and even gather some insurance runs. After an intentional walk to Addison Russell, the Braves yanked Jose Ramirez and brought in Sam Freeman. The troubles still weren't out of sight yet as Freeman walked three consecutive batters in Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Tommy La Stella which led to two more runs, and made it a 12-10 ball game. The Braves needed yet another pitching change, bringing in Peter Moylan who replaced Sam Freeman. For the Cubs, Efren Navarro was at the plate and a wild pitch by Moylan allowed Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber to score. That made it a 14-10 game, and Brandon Morrow took over the top of the 9th and secured the win for Justin Wilson.
In case that was all a little bit too much to digest, the Braves bullpen in the 8th inning gave up three hits, 9 runs (8 ER), five walks, two hit batters, and two strikeouts.
This game was just what the Cubs needed. There's no denying that this early part of the season has been beyond frustrating for Cubs fans and players alike. I can't say that anyone would have predicted a comeback quite like this, but we are all glad it happened!
According to MLB.com, the biggest comeback in Cubs history before today was on August 29, 1989 when the Cubs rallied from a nine-run deficit to defeat the Astros 10-9.