What a game and what a win as the Cubs took Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday night. Jon Lester shut out the Giants for eight innings. And Javier Baez delivered the big hit in a 1-0 win in the Cubs’ first ‘Big Boy Game’ of the postseason.
It was the oldest player on the field that had the biggest impact in a game that was decided by one run on a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. While Javier Baez and Jon Lester grabbed the headlines, it was David Ross that was difference in the game.
David Ross not only called an excellent game and got Lester the pitches he needed to be successful he shut the Giants running game down.
Ross threw out Gorkys Hernandez in the first inning trying to steal second base. Hernandez bunted his way on to start the game as the Giants attempted to exploit Lester’s throwing issues. Ross nailed Hernandez with a pop time of 1.86 seconds (league average is two seconds) and his 81 mph fastball to Addison Russell kept the play from being close. Hernandez was out by several feet. According to Daren Willman that was Ross’ fastest pop time of the season.
In the third inning on a designed play, Ross picked off Conor Gillaspie from first base with Anthony Rizzo crashing as Johnny Cueto squared to bunt. Ross threw another strike, that one to Javier Baez, who applied the tag for the out. The Giants put the leadoff hitter on base in each of the first three innings and Ross erased two of those runners.
David Ross became the first catcher to have a pickoff and a caught stealing in the same postseason game since Gabby Hartnett in the 1935 World Series.
After Lester worked out of a fourth inning jam that was created by a misplayed ball in left field, Lester and Ross played catch for four innings. Lester did not appear to shake off Ross one time.
Ross said after the game, “This is what playoff baseball is all about. What an atmosphere.”
Without David Ross the atmosphere at Wrigley Field would not have been what it was in Game 1.
Jon Lester turned in just an outstanding outing Friday night in Game 1 of the NLDS. Lester outpitched the flamboyant Johnny Cueto in every aspect of the game. Lester did not rack up the strikeouts that garner too much attention. He just went about his business, pounding the strike zone while giving up very little hard contact.
Lester made only 86 pitches … 86, that’s all in eight innings. And 60 went for strikes. So in a game in which one mistake could mean the difference between a win or a loss, Lester threw 26 balls out of the zone in eight innings. Lester was charged with five hits, two were of the infield variety and the ‘double’ by Angel Pagan in the fourth inning was only a double in the box score. Pagan did not square up the ball that Ben Zobrist should have caught to end the inning.
- Comcast SportsNet – Jon Lester sets the tone for the Cubs
- ESPN – How Jon Lester beat the Giants in Game 1
- Bob Nightengale – Jon Lester hopes to deliver a World Series title to the Chicago Cubs
- The Tribune – Jon Lester-David Ross combo keeps Giants offense off stride
Jon Lester became the first Cubs’ lefty with eight or more scoreless innings in a postseason game since Hippo Vaughn in Game 5 of the 1918 World Series.
NLDS News and Notes
Here’s the news and notes from Game 1 of the NLDS …
• Javy Baez blasts Cubs to victory in nail-biting postseason opener according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Javier Baez’s towering homer lifts Cubs to tense 1-0 victory over Giants according to Mark Gonzales.
• The Tribune reported David Ross said Javier Baez is the “best defensive player I’ve ever played with, and that says a lot.”
• David Haugh reported Javier Baez’s homer sets confident tone that the Cubs can ride through the playoffs.
• The Sun-Times reported the Cubs start countdown with 1-0 win over Giants in opener: 10 to go.
• Ken Rosenthal reported when Cubs needed a game-winning shot, Javier Baez put the ball in the basket.
• Javy Being Javy … Baez steals the show as Cubs beat the Giants in an instant classic according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Javier Baez does it all for the Cubs according to Bruce Levine.
• Jeff Passan reported Javier Baez walked his way into Cubs history with game-winning home run.
• The Cubs passed first adversity test with flying colors according to Joel Sherman.
• Giants aggressive baserunning was costly in Game 1 loss to the Cubs according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Bob Nightengale reported Cubs win a classic as Baez’s home run was enough for 1-0 win over Johnny Cueto, Giants.
• The Sun-Times reported Joe Maddon used Aroldis Chapman in conventional closer style, but was prepared to use him in the eighth, if needed. Chapman was pitching the ninth inning of Game 1 even if the Cubs did not have a lead.
• Aroldis Chapman may be the most important player for Cubs title hopes according to John Harper.
• Game 1 of the NLDS posted a 17.4 Chicago market with a peak audience of 772,000 homes according to Jeff Nuich.
• Johnny Cueto is the first pitcher with 10-plus strikeouts, no walks and three or fewer hits allowed to be tagged with a loss in a postseason game according to Christopher Kamka.
• Kris Bryant’s fourth inning double off Johnny Cueto in Game 1 had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph, his third hardest hit ball all season.
• Kris Bryant: “That was probably one of the best games I’ve been a part of. My heart is still beating a little quick. It was fun.”
News and Notes
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Cubs chose Albert Almora Jr. for playoff roster.
• Given the Game 2 nod, Jeff Samardzija wants to make Bruce Bochy look wise according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Mike Ditka loves how the Cubs have embraced the target according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• MLB Pipeline detailed how the Cubs’ NLDS roster was built … and it includes more players acquired by trade than any other postseason club.
• With signs pointing to a Cubs TV network, the other teams on Comcast SportsNet Chicago are preparing for life without their top-rated product according to a report from Danny Ecker.
• Wrigley Field remake … Now it’s beautiful outside, too according to Blair Kamin. A re-post on the Tribune from April for the NLDS.
• The Yankees announced Friday pitching coach Larry Rothschild signed a one-year contract.
• The A’s outrighted former Cubs’ lefty Felix Doubront off the 40-man roster and to Triple-A Nashville.
• Before Game 1 of the NLDS, Jason Hammel tweeted, “Don’t change a thing Cubbies fans. Let’s do this! @Cubs 2.0 2016 version. Nothing better than October baseball! #LetsGoCubs #11togo”
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 7, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2008 – Cubs exercised Rich Harden’s $7 million option for the 2009 season after tests showed everything was okay with his right shoulder.
1986 – Adron Chambers, born
1970 – Sandy Martinez, born
1959 – Mike Morgan, born
1959 – Cubs released Randy Jackson
1957 – Reds purchased Steve Bilko from the Cubs
1951 – Cubs purchased Milo Candini from the Phillies
1948 – Reds purchased Marv Rickert from the Cubs
1945 – Cubs beat the Tigers 8-7 in the sixth game of the World Series at Wrigley Field. Stan Hack doubled over Hank Greenberg in the 12th inning and plated the winning run. The Cubs tied the series at three games apiece.
1941 – Cubs released Charlie Root
1936 – Cubs traded Lon Warneke to the Cardinals for Rip Collins and Roy Parmelee.
1929 – Cubs lost game one of the World Series to the A’s 3-1 at Wrigley Field.
1908 – In the make-up game with the Giants after what become known as the Merkle’s Boner Game, Mordecai ‘Three Finger’ Brown outpitched Christy Mathewson 4-2 as the Cubs won the National League Pennant by one game over the New York Giants
1907 – Down 3-2 to the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth in game one of the World Series, catcher Charlie Schmidt dropped Bill Donovan’s third strike that allowed the Cubs to tie the game. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie in 12 innings. The game was called due to darkness at West Side Grounds.
1889 – An unusual Way to Play Two … The Chicago National League Ball Club played a doubleheader, Cleveland in the morning and Louisville in the afternoon. The franchise that would be the Cubs won both games, 13-0 over Cleveland and 7-3 over Louisville at West Side Grounds. Jack Taylor won the first game in his first big league shutout, the team’s 39th shutout of the season, a post-1892 franchise record. Bill Lange stole home in the second game and Sam Mertes hit an inside-the-park home run.
1885 – Jimmy Ryan made his big league debut at shortstop and went 1-for-4 in a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia.