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Cubs historical sleuthing: Cleveland edition

Yes, it’s the Cubs at Cleveland, but not when you think.

Here is another photo sent to me by reader Bob Hankla, on which he said, “Here’s an away game for you.”

I thought this one would be tougher, but it really wasn’t.

Once again, here’s the full photo:

The top edge of the photo tells us where this was taken: It’s at Progressive Field in Cleveland. It’s obviously not from the 2016 World Series, because look at all the empty seats.

It’s hard to tell on the big overview who’s batting, so here’s a closer view:

It’s Javier Báez. Javy played in five regular season games in Cleveland as a Cub. Two of them were in 2020 — no fans, so cross those off the list. There was one such game played there by Javy in 2021, but that was a day game and this is obviously a night game.

That leaves two games, both in 2018.

There are at least two runners on base (we can’t see whether there’s a runner on third or not). Fortunately for my sleuthing skills, there was only one plate appearance for Javy in either of those games where he batted with two runners on (he did not bat with the bases loaded).

That happened in the fifth inning of a scoreless tie Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the Cubs’ first appearance in Cleveland since the 2016 World Series. There was one out and Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. were on base, both via walks.

I would love to tell you that Javy drove them both in, but he struck out in this at-bat. The next hitter was Anthony Rizzo, and he did get a hit, driving in Happ with a single.

Unfortunately, that’s the only run the Cubs scored that night in a 4-1 loss. As is the case for any loss that year, if the Cubs had won that game they’d have had 96 wins and won the NL Central outright and not had to play the tiebreaker game against the Brewers.

One win might have changed the entire direction of the Cubs franchise. Sigh.