Javier Baez's dramatic game-winning home run almost didn't happen
It was the first time a Cubs player hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later of a postseason game at Wrigley Field and it almost didn't happen.
Giants starter Johnny Cueto was utterly brilliant against the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS. His unconventional delivery kept the Cubs batters off balance all night and, as a result, when Javier Baez stepped to the plate with one out and nobody on in the 8th inning of a scoreless game, he was desperate to do anything to get on base.
In the postgame interview up top, Baez admitted he was "thinking about bunting." Had third baseman Conor Gillaspie been playing back, he might have executed that bunt. Who knows, maybe it would have even worked. Although the ease with which Cueto retired the two batters after Baez instills little confidence they would have found a way to score Baez if he had reached on a bunt single.
Instead, Gillaspie was playing in and Baez opted to swing away. With the count full, Cueto made one of his very few mistakes on the evening and Baez punished it:
The legendary Wrigley Park wind almost kept that ball in the yard, but it landed just inside the basket atop the outfield wall and, as Javier Baez himself noted:
It still went out. #JB9- Javier Báez (@javy23baez) October 8, 2016
Indeed it did. That one swing was all it took as the Cubs were able to hold on and win the game, 1-0. Will they extend their series lead or will the Giants be able to pull even? Tune in to watch Jeff Samardzija and Kyle Hendricks in Game 2 of the NLDS at 8 p.m. ET tonight on MLB Network.