Travis Wood's fearless catch, Jon Lester's walk-off heroics the work of Joe Maddon's latest wizardry
Wrigley Field may be warmly referred to as the Friendly Confines, but in reality the ivy-covered brick wall can be tough for outfielders. It is a hard, unforgiving surface, after all.
Travis Wood may be a pitcher, but in Sunday night's dramatic 7-6 win over the Mariners he did something few pitchers have probably done before: He made a great running catch after ranging back in pursuit of a fly ball, heading right toward that iconic ivy -- and that was just one of two unorthodox circumstances Cubs pitchers found themselves in on the night.
Indeed, Wood was playing the outfield, after coming in out of the bullpen and navigating through a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation in the top of the sixth. He swapped the mound for left field in place of
This may all sound rather confusing, but Joe Maddon has a knack for making the otherwise surreal become commonplace. So it's within that context that the phrase "Wood was playing left field" shouldn't be that unfamiliar, since he did this same thing just last month.
Then, just as happened the first time Maddon employed this strategy, Wood returned to the mound in the eighth inning, and concluded his evening recording four outs, allowing no hits and no runs in the process and keeping the Cubs within striking distance of Seattle.
After a performance that impressive, that nuanced, and that versatile, it's high fives and hugs from everyone.
Wood's contributions were key, considering Chicago staged a big rally in the ninth to push things to extras, eventually winning in the 12th when
And Lester, fittingly, received a hero's sendoff from his teammates after coming through:
Just another night on the job for Maddon.