That game was what you’d want it to be. Even if you weren’t rooting for the Cubs, you might never see a better baseball game. Maybe you’ve seen games that were as good, but you couldn’t top that, not for the drama, and not for how very Baseball it was. It was a one-run game that went to extra innings. The winning pitcher was the world-class reliever who blew a three-run lead. The losing pitcher wasn’t even supposed to have to pitch. The Cubs jumped out against the Indians’ unhittable ace, who for the first time was left in too long. The Indians clawed back with a two-run wild pitch that got by a catcher inserted specifically to help the pitcher on the mound. That same catcher, who’s now retired, then hit a home run off one of the only relievers who might be better than the Cubs reliever who later blew the save. Both teams used starters in relief. There was a rain delay and a bunt for a strikeout. The last out of the game was made by Michael Martinez. The final go-ahead run was scored by Albert Almora.
As a longtime reader of FanGraphs and as a longtime foreign policy observer, I came away from watching Game 7
extremely tired with four small lessons that can be applied to the world of statecraft:
Look, let’s be real here — Chapman is complicated. I haven’t, in good conscience, been able to just think about Chapman and watch Chapman without recalling the domestic-violence incident. I’m sorry to bring that up again, but, really, no, I’m not. It happened and it makes the whole Chapman experience something less than it used to be. With that being said, considering only what Chapman did on the field in Game 5 — he has an arm the likes of which I’d never seen before, and the strikeout pitch to Lindor was genuinely perfect. It was perfect. That wasn’t Chapman just chucking gas and assuming hitters wouldn’t catch up no matter where the ball went. In making Lindor go away, Chapman did some real pitching.