The reigning champion Chicago Cubs were looking at a near insurmountable two-game lead in a best of five series late in Saturday night’s game against the Washington Nationals.
The gutty Cubs had a 3-1 lead and despite not having his best stuff, pitcher Jon Lester managed to pitch his way out of a bases-loaded jam while the Nats offense continued to misfire.
But Cubs Manager Joe Maddon outsmarted himself by yanking Lester far too early and by the time that he was made to realize his mistake, the game was over as the Nationals destroyed the mediocre tomato can of a reliever that the skipper trotted out to face the murderer’s row of the meat of Washington’s lineup.
The body language of Carl Edwards Jr. was that of a beaten man, far from exuding the confidence an chutzpah necessary to face down Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.
The @Nationals needed a moment.
— MLB (@MLB) October 8, 2017
Turner stuck out but Edwards all but peed in his pants as the mighty Harper stepped into the batting box and soon crushed a two-run homer that tied the game. Maddon then replaced Edwards with lefty Mike Montgomery who gave up a three-run shot to Zimmerman.
Perspective: With two swings of the bat, everything may have changed for the Nationals https://t.co/WkKk7G6mrL
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 8, 2017
Game over, the momentum just shifted too.
Despite Joe Maddon’s success, Cubs fans may not recall that it was his questionable decision making on relief pitching that nearly cost them game seven of the World Series last October. If not for that very well-timed rain delay from heaven, the Cleveland Indians may very well have won the title.
Maddon blew it last night and with Max Scherzer on the mound for game three may have blown the series for the Cubbies as well.
Game three takes place at Wrigley Field at 4 pm ET.