I still don’t know if I’ve fully wrapped my head around what happened in Game 4 of the NLDS. The Cubs were staring at a tense fifth game at Wrigley on Thursday night against Johnny Cueto and possibly Madison Bumgarner out of the pen. Then came the 4-run 9th inning explosion that thrust Chicago into the NLCS. I would like to say I knew they would win it all along, but I would be lying. What follows is a running diary of what I was feeling at key moments during the game as they happened. Just a warning, it gets a little dark in some spots.
Pregame: The Giants won in the bottom of the 13th on a Joe Panik double. The Cubs are still up 2-1 but I have a lot of fear about this game. Cueto looms in Game 5 if the Giants can win with Matt Moore. Feels like this is a must-win game, which seems counterintuitive with the Cubs up in the series.
B1: Giants take a 1-0 lead on a double by Denard Span and a sacrifice fly by Buster Posey. This isn’t a good start for John Lackey. Span keeps killing the Cubs, it seems like he has dominated them for 5 years now. At least Conor Gillaspie isn’t involved.
T3: David Ross homers to tie the game at 1-1. THE ROSSATRON STRIKES!!! It seems like the only people hitting for the Cubs are the pitchers and the bottom of the order. It would be nice if the middle of the order could follow suit.
B4: Gillaspie singles, Panik singles, Gregor Blanco walks. Matt Moore singles home a run and another scores on a fielder’s choice by Span: 3-1 Giants. Seriously, Gillaspie again??? At least Daniel Murphy is good. A guy who couldn’t even start for the White Sox is beating the Cubs? And I guess it makes sense that the pitcher for the other team would have to get a hit after the Cubs’ success.
T5: Baez reaches third on a Brandon Crawford error, Ross sac-fly cuts the lead to 3-2. Well, the Giants handed the Cubs a bit of hope. Lackey is out of the game, I think it’s a good move. He was getting hit pretty hard, let Grimm and the pen take it from here like Game 2.
B5: Justin Grimm allows a Hunter Pence single and a Crawford double. Travis Wood allows a Gillaspie single and a Panik sac fly. 5-2 Giants. The Cubs’ season is really going to be ruined by Gillaspie?!? That’s the plan. And whose idea was it to go with Grimm? Of course he sucks! Maybe Wood should stick to hitting.
T8: Matt Moore flies through another 1, 2, 3 inning, ends 8 innings of work with 10 strikeouts. Why did I even bother getting excited for this season? I knew what would happen in the end. Cueto is definitely winning Game 5. The only question is will he throw a no-hitter? FS1 shows fan in goat mask in the stands. Maybe that entire curse BS is hinting at something real, or maybe the Giants are just unstoppable. Guess I will watch the 9th and wallow in sadness.
T9: Kris Bryant singles off of Derek Law. Well at least they got a hit off the towel-waver. Not like it matters much during the collapse. Anthony Rizzo walks against new pitcher Javy Lopez. Oh good, another classic #FakeRally to really rub it in on me. Also Bruce Bochy with his trademark over-managing.
Ben Zobrist rips a double off closer Sergio Romo, Bryant scores, tying run at second. They are really pushing this tease rally thing, but I’m still waiting for the rug pull. Maddon pulls Addison Russell for Chris Coghlan. What are you doing Joe!?! Coghlan in the biggest moment of the year? Bochy pulls Romo for Will Smith. Will Smith, eh? The guy the Cubs always teed off on in Milwaukee? That I like, and Willson Contreras pinch-hitting? I like that too.
Contreras singles off Will Smith, Zobrist and Rizzo score: Game tied 5-5. I’m sorry, what’s happening right now? I’m seeing images on the screen but my brain isn’t loading them properly. Jason Heyward bunts. That was a horrible bunt, great work, J-Hey. Crawford throws double play relay in the dugout. Oh my God! Runner in scoring position for JAVY!!!
Wow, Bochy is switching pitchers again and it would be so fitting if Javy went deep and really styled it right now. Baez lines single up the middle Heyward scores Cubs lead 6-5. Seriously, did this just happen!?! If I’m dreaming this is a pretty awesome dream. Oh my God, now the Cubs have to get three more outs. This may kill me.
B9: Chapman strikes out the side Cubs win the NLDS!!! I don’t what to do with myself. The Cubs just staged the greatest 9th-inning rally in 30 years of MLB playoffs. I’ve never seen a Cubs team get off the mat like this before. I love everybody, even Coghlan. And Lackey. I’ll never doubt this team again….well, not until Saturday night.