Walk-off wins are always exciting, even when the games mean nothing. They’re even more exciting when the win is against arguably the best team in the majors.
Granted, the Cubs’ roster for today’s game was all but void of the stars that broke the Curse of the Billy Goat last year, but it was a great win over an excellent franchise. Kyle Hendricks got the start for Chicago and was his usual self, pitching three shutout innings and recording four strikeouts. The game stayed scoreless until the top of the fifth when Chris Dominguez hit a two-run homer and Albert Almora Jr. tripled in a run.
The Cubs build up their lead until the seventh, when the Mariners brought it within four with a sacrifice fly and a Joe DeCarlo home run. After a thrilling inside-the-park home run by Luis Liberato.
Shawn O’Malley came to the rescue in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run single. I personally haven’t made up my mind on O’Malley, but I was glad to see him in the spotlight today.
Guillermo Heredia came through with two hits today, one of which was a bunt single. He’s a true renaissance man, and I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be spending a good amount of time roaming the Seattle outfield this year.
Daniel Vogelbach also had two hits. He continues to do all the right things while getting ready for his starting role in April.
Chris Heston had a solid start over three innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two. It’s unlikely he’ll make the starting rotation, but his résumé looks good, if he can continue to perform well, I’m sure Mike Hampton can find a spot for him. Thyago Vieira struggled with his control again, allowing five hits and four earned runs in his two-thirds inning. The power is there, no doubt, but he’ll likely be a work in progress for a little while.
It’s been refreshing to see Seattle do well despite the absence of their stars. A lot of struggles in the past have come from times when one of the big four (Seager, Canó, Cruz, or Hernández) were out with injuries. They’re showing that they have the tools to perform at a high level and play winning baseball despite the big boys being in town.
They host Cincinnati tomorrow, Spring acquisition Chase de Jong will get the start.
In WBC play, the United States edged Colombia in extra innings, and King Felix and Venezuela are squaring off against Puerto Rico at the moment. They trail Puerto Rico by three in the sixth.