Dominating pitcher who just struck out his ninth batter with ease. Check.
Three-run lead in the top of the ninth. Check.
Closer time. Check.
By the book managing. Check.
It always amazes me when a manager pulls out his dominating starter in order to give the opposing team a chance. It’s even more of a head scratcher when it’s a do or die playoff game.
Matt Moore was pretty much unhittable through eight innings last night in San Francisco. In fact, he had given up just two hits. Add to that the fact that the Giants bullpen was the worst bullpen in baseball in 2016 (yes, worse even than Texas’s). And that makes for two things.
One, a foolish decision by an otherwise smart manager.
Two, the most historic comeback in playoff elimination game history.
The Cubs scored four runs in the top of the ninth off five Giants relievers to stun the Giants loyal crowd that had come to expect wins in elimination games as if they were their birthright, having racked up eleven straight.
But the save stat claimed another victim. And the Cubs move on to the National League Championship Series. And the Giants improbably run is over. And Matt Moore sees his gem slip away, out of his hands, out of his control.
And Bruce Bochy got exactly what he deserved.