While 2019 didn’t end the way Cubs fans wanted it to there were still some incredible moments to celebrate during the Cubs’ season. Today, on the sixth day of Cubsmas, I’m taking a closer look at the six times the Cubs walked off their opponents in 2019.
April 21 vs. Diamondbacks
On Easter Sunday Tyler Chatwood got the start against the Diamondbacks and Al captured the early collective groan from Wrigley Field perfectly in the opening of his recap:
Tyler Chatwood walked the first Diamondbacks hitter of Sunday’s game on four pitches, and boos began to cascade around the Wrigley Field stands on a perfectly gorgeous, 70-degree April Sunday afternoon. Booing your own players except for lack of effort isn’t really justified, but I could understand it.
Then there was the sarcastic cheer after he threw a strike to the next hitter, Wilmer Flores. And then he threw another one, and then induced a double-play ball, and then...
Chatwood was dominating after that first walk. He allowed two singles and issued one more base on balls, which was also erased on a double play.
Chatwood wound up throwing six innings. He gave up two hits, struck out three and only walked two. He left the game after throwing 71 pitches with a 1-0 lead after Javier Báez drove in Anthony Rizzo with a triple in the bottom of the inning.
The Cubs held that lead until the ninth inning when Pedro Strop entered for the save. He struck out Ildemaro Vargas and then, well, ninth inning 2019 Strop happened. Jarrod Dyson hit a no-doubt homer to right field tying the game at one.
It didn’t take long for the Cubs to right the ship, however. Archie Bradley came in and Javy ran the count full before hitting a double to right (he advanced to third on an errant throw). The next pitch hit Willson Contreras. That brought David Bote to the plate with runners on first and third and this happened [VIDEO].
May 7 vs. Marlins
This game wasn’t pretty. The Marlins scored both of their runs on a Kyle Schwarber error and the normally surehanded Anthony Rizzo did this early:
"I kept yelling at [Rizzo] to get there, to touch it before it went foul, because it was going to go foul before it got to first base. And then he bobbles it and falls on it and God knows what he's doing over there. That was my time to yell at him, which I love doing." --Lester pic.twitter.com/Y1jwdFKLvj— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 8, 2019
The Marlins didn’t have any errors in this one. The Cubs runs came on a sacrifice fly in the first and an Albert Almora Jr. home run in the third that barely cleared the basket. Well, maybe the Marlins should be credited with an error for how this one ended, because with Adam Conley clearly struggling in the bottom of the ninth and a reliever ready, Don Mattingly decided to let Conley face Kris Bryant.
At which point, Bryant walked it off for the Cubs. It was clutch, it was pretty and I know you want to see it again [VIDEO].
May 8 vs. Marlins
One day later the Cubs were at it again. It was the first back to back game with walk off home runs in 21 years:
First back-to-back walkoff homers for the Cubs since Sept. 12-13, 1998.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 9, 2019
While the victory was exciting (more on that in a minute) this was another walkoff that the Cubs could have done without. They had a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth when Kyle Ryan and Steve Cishek let the Marlins back in the game between a couple of singles and a wild pitch. That tied the game and neither team did anything in the tenth.
In the bottom of the 11th inning Jason Heyward decided it was time to go home [VIDEO].
May 11 vs. Brewers
It took less than three days to do it again, and this time it was Willson Contreras doing his best to hit a walk off home run right at Al. However, I’m getting ahead of myself a little, let’s talk about the lead up to this 15th-inning home run first.
This was an outstanding pitchers duel between Cole Hamels and Zach Davies. Hamels threw seven innings giving up only three hits and one run while striking out five. Davies gave up six hits but the Cubs only got one run out of it. He also struck out five.
The game stayed 1-1 until the bottom of the 15th inning when Contreras decided it was time to go home on a chilly May day:
Contreras’ jersey did not survive the celebration, but I don’t think he minded all that much. Oh, and in case you’re wondering how rare three walkoff home runs in the same week is, well, Al’s recap included this:
#Cubs: first time with 3 walkoff home runs in a month since April 1961— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 11, 2019
May wasn’t even half way over yet and the Cubs were not done.
May 21 vs. Phillies
One day after the Cubs dropped a heartbreaker to the Phillies at home they found themselves down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Juan Nicasio came in to close out a Phillies victory in Chicago.
The Cubs had other things in mind. Kris Bryant walked and then Anthony Rizzo hit a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third with no outs. Almora came up with the bases loaded and hit a swinging bunt that Nicasio decided to go home with, it wasn’t the right decision and Bryant scored to tie it up [VIDEO]:
An already struggling Daniel Descalso was due up next, and Joe Maddon decided to go to his bench to have Javy pinch hit instead. Javy hadn’t started in two days due to soreness in his heel, but you don’t need a heel to do this [VIDEO].
Bryant’s postgame reaction to Javy’s walk off single was priceless:
Bryant on Baez: “I don’t even know what’s going on with him. I don’t know what’s going on with him half the time anyway. 'Oh, Javy is pinch hitting? I was like ‘don’t swing at the first pitch.’ ‘He’s like I’m so good. I'm going to get this hit and we're going to go home.'"— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 22, 2019
July 16 vs. Reds
The final Cubs walkoff win of 2019 came on July 16 against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds were a bit of a nemesis for the Cubs in 2019, and honestly had a few of those games gone differently the Cubs may have found themselves in the playoffs for the fifth year in a row. On this night they hit Alec Mills hard early to go up 3-0 in the first inning.
Mills settled down and the Cubs started chipping away at the Reds’ lead. They got two runs back on a Robel Garcia home run in the second and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Kris Bryant went deep off Anthony DeSclafani.
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the tenth inning when Kyle Schwarber came to the plate with one out and put this game to bed with a home run into the left field basket [VIDEO]:
On the sixth day of Cubsmas my true love gave to me: six walk off wins, five games out of the playoffs, four Alec Mills starts, three Nico homers, two fWAR from Castellanos and a David Ross for manager.