Tonight the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers met for their second-to-last game of the 2020 season against each other in Miller Park. Kyle Hendricks started for the Cubs, and the Brewers went with an emergency bullpen game, as Brett Anderson was unable to answer the bell for his scheduled start. How did it go?
Well, it looked like one of those goddamn nights. Once again, the Cubs were spending more time in the top half of each inning swinging at air and carrying their bats back to the dugout than anything, until Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back singles off Josh Hader before Jason Heyward and Ildemaro Vargas hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the ninth to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 win. Let’s get to this:
Hendricks. He went 7 2/3 innings, allowed two runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking none. When the Cubs get to the first round of the postseason, which will be a best-of-three series, they have to feel very good about sending out Hendricks and Yu Darvish in the first two games.
Heyward. He hit a majestic home run, the Cubs’ first in six games, off the lefthanded Hader to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. After years of being happy that his defense could at last compensate for his lack of offensive output, his OPS over .900 is proof that good things happen to good people.
Craig Kimbrel. He allowed hits to the first two Brewers in the ninth, then got a strikeout and a couple weakly hit balls to Vargas at third to notch the save.
Javier Baez. Two hits, including the rally starter in the ninth. Both to right field. When he starts staying inside the ball instead of trying to yank everything into the left field seats, he becomes the Cubs’ most dangerous hitter.
Kris Bryant, playing first base to give Rizzo a breather, biffed a foul ball off the bat of human skidmark Ryan Braun, giving him new life. He then deposited a Hendricks pitch over the center field wall to give the Brewers their only two runs of the night.
So now the Cubs’ Magic Number is down to 15, pending the outcome of the Cardinals/Reds game in St. Louis. Tomorrow afternoon, Alec Mills takes the mound against Adrian Houser.