NLDS Game 1: Javy the Giant killer

NLDS Game 1: Javy the Giant killer

One Cueto mistake
One Javy Baez long ball
One helluva night

On Friday night the first game of the National League Division Series was, as expected, a classic pitchers duel. Johnny Cueto didn't allow a Cubs runner until Kris Bryant managed a double with one out in the fourth. Jon Lester pitched 8 scoreless innings, perfect for the last four after escaping some early threats.

Mid-season acquisition Aroldis Chapman earned his paycheck coming in for the save in the ninth. He did make Cubs fans a little nervous by giving up a 2-out double to Buster Posey, but then got Hunter Pence to ground out to Javy Baez to end the game.

The Cubs starter allowed the lead-off runner to reach base in each of the first 3 innings, but David Ross helped out his battery mate twice. He caught Gorkys Hernandez trying to steal second in the first and picked Conor Gillaspie off first in the third. It's worth noting, in this season of "firsts since", this was the first time a catcher had both a caught stealing and pick-off in a post-season game since Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett accomplished the feat in the 1935 World Series.

But Lester and the Cubs got a big break in the fourth when Buster Posey stopped at third base, failing to score from first on a 2-out double. That base running mistake cost the Giants their best and last chance to score off Lester.

Finally, in the bottom of the eighth, Cueto made one of his few mistakes of the night. Javy Baez put a fastball into the basket in left for the only run of the game, which was all the Cubs needed to start the post-season with a win. Coming off the bat the ball looked destined for Waveland Avenue, but the wind was blowing in and it didn't even make it into the bleachers.

You've certainly seen the home run, but if haven't seen it called on four different broadcasts you owe it to yourself to watch this video.

The NLDS continues tonight as the Giants put former Cub Jeff Samardzjia on the mound against Cy Young contender Kyle "The Professor" Hendricks.

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Filed under: Baseball, Cubs, NLDS

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