The Cubs offense showed up in Colorado, particularly for games one and three which contributed to the Cubs winning the series. Over the course of the series the Cubs outscored the Rockies 27-12. However, it’s worth noting that even with that offensive surge the Cubs likely would have dropped this series without an incredible defensive display from Albert Almora Jr. in center field. So this snapshot is devoted to spectacular defense and a player who kept runs from scoring on Sunday.
Almora has played 969.1 innings in the outfield since 2016. He’s made one fielding error in that time and zero throwing errors. That translates to a .996 fielding percentage. But the numbers don’t really capture the incredible plays that we see from Almora on a regular basis.
That defensive show was on full display in Denver, as you can see in this video montage from MLB [VIDEO]
Web Gem the First
Jose Quintana was in trouble in the bottom of the first inning. The Cubs had jumped out to an early three run lead, but DJ LeMahieu was second base after reaching on an error and stealing second base. There was one out when Nolan Arenado hit a ball that looked like it was headed for extra bases and the Rockies’ first run.
Albert Almora said no.
Coors Field is a large outfield, but that’s okay because Albert Almora Jr. is a wizard who can cover a shocking amount of ground. You can see it in the above pic as he basically gets to no-man’s land from center field to rob Arenado.
Almora launched himself in the air like a human missile defense system to intercept this ball. I had to hold my breath a little bit because I knew if he missed it that ball was headed to the wall.
I don’t know why I doubted that he would make the catch. I’ve seen it so many times. Of course he made the catch.
At this point I’m more amazed that he held onto the ball. The ball is half out of his mitt as he hits the ground. Hard. The force of that hit is going to result in a complete somersault.
It’s incredible that he held onto the ball even with a sno-coning, somersaulting catch. Really, the catch would have been enough. But Almora is a professional and keenly defensively aware. So he comes up firing the ball to the infield.
I cannot stress the difficulty level of this catch enough. Almora was pretty shaken up, Schwarber came over to check on him and the trainers ultimately came out to make sure he was okay. I mean, look at the mark this catch made on his back. You’d be shaken up too.
We are all Jose Quintana.
Web Gem the Second
Another inning, another web gem.
No really, I mean that literally. That was the type of day Almora was having, so in the bottom of the second, he decided to do this.
This play starts out remarkably similarly. A runner on second. A long ball towards deep left center field. Almora is going to cover a lot of ground. This one isn’t quite as far as the first run, but the result is just as amazing.
Almora lays out almost horizontal to the ground to snag the ball. In the last play the landing was a huge part of this show, but in this one it’s sort of all about the launch.
He belly flops with the ball. But wait, we need to go back and look at some of the evidence on the strength of the launch.
Almora pushed himself off the field with so much force that he took pieces of the field with him. Those pieces of the field flew and landed in multiple locations around him as he hit the deck with the ball.
And he wasn’t done yet.
Almora lays out for this ball and ends the inning in a sea of flying grass. This guy in a Sandberg jersey loves it. I definitely agree.
Web Gem the Third
He’s not done yet.
Through a series of unfortunate events (specifically a couple of hits, a couple of walks and a passed ball) the Rockies made this game interesting in the seventh inning. That meant that Brandon Morrow came on for his fourth save opportunity in the ninth.
I’d like to pause for a second and say if there is a field in baseball where a two run lead is dangerous territory, it’s Coor’s Field. So I imagine we all had similar reactions as Charlie Blackmon decided to send this pitch to the deepest part of the field.
Almora has already dived for two balls today, so he’s keen to show us new tricks as he heads to the wall:
He’s going to make this catch with one step to go before the wall.
Almora hits the wall and is anyone surprised that in the battle of Albert Almora Jr., unstoppable force and the Coors Field wall, immovable object, that the victor on this day was Almora?
This wasn’t an easy catch. You can see the force that Almora hit the wall with based on how he bounces off the wall. He really hits the deck hard, but holds onto the ball for the out.
In case there was any doubt, the trainers came out to check on him after he looked pretty shaken up on the warning track.
He hits the wall back.
Almora gets a well earned standing ovation from baseball fans at Coors Field, whether they are wearing purple or blue.
I shudder to think what the outcome of this game would have been if even one of those plays hadn’t been made, but luckily for Cubs fans, Almora is making web gems commonplace and he definitely saved a win on Sunday in Colorado.