For eight innings, this felt like it could be one of the more satisfying wins of the season, at least aside from a Cardinals sweep. Looking at Eddie Butler having to face this lineup beforehand, it didn’t lead to a late-lunch or early dinner to settle comfortably. He pulled a Brett Anderson and at least got all the screaming contact he gave up to be right at someone, usually Albert Almora Jr. Edwards, Strop, Uehara, Duensing, and Grimm took the torch from there, and when the Cubs added three runs in the 9th against the hobo trash can fire that the Nats pen is at the moment, you were feeling pretty good.
Then…well I don’t know what the sound would be for throwing up in one’s mouth but whatever you think it is insert it here.
It’s a shame, because we want to remember this game as the one where the two most entertaining Cubs were doing their thing all night. Contreras, hilariously inserted into the leadoff spot, homered to start the game because of course he did. Why wouldn’t he? He also was able to torch Trea Turner off first. I don’t know why scouting reports aren’t underlining and circling that Willson is going to take a shot at you on the bases, especially at first if there’s a left-handed hitter up. He’s just going to. Why would you think he wouldn’t?
Back that up with Javy Danger basically being Spider-Man all over the field tonight. There was the dive to rob Bryce Harper (which ok may have been a touch for the cameras but that’s cool). The catch to rob Lind in foul territory was even better, as he basically had to cover about 80 yards to get there. The steal of third and scoring on a bunt. This is why everyone so desperately wants him to be a productive hitter because everything that comes with it feels like a party favor. Oh, and then in the 9th he dismissively drove a pitch into the right field gap, which if he does consistently he’s like going to be the best player in the world. Ok maybe not but it’s going to feel like it to us. It can’t get much better.
It got a hell of a lot worse. Look, I’ve never liked the “closer only comes in save situations” once you’ve gotten him up. Back that up with some of Davis’s problems stemming from lack of sharpness, and it’s ok to bring him in with a five-run lead when you’ve already got him warm. What he’s certainly not used to is getting back up after sitting down and then coming in on a moment’s notice. It’s not his rhythm.
None of this matters of course if Hector Rondon wasn’t kerosine at the moment, but here we are. That slider just doesn’t have the bite it once did. Basically he’s Neil Ramirez now, where it bends and stays in the zone, which makes it really hittable. The Nats teed off on fastballs tonight, because they’re not fooled by the slider. It’s a problem.
But it got done, which I suppose is all that matters. Sure, Davis will be down for tomorrow in a game where you wouldn’t expect to get too many runs and at least hope will be close.
-Kristopher Lee had two opportunities to get runners home with two outs, and popped out both times. Which makes me itchy about all this talk of fatigue, because he’s not up to the fastballs he’s seeing right now. I’m going to just assume it’s a dip and will be fine soon. In another couple weeks…
-Almora is so slow I wonder if they could have turned two on his run-scoring bunt if they’d thought of it.