I’m not sure if he heard me, but David Ross sure seemed bound and determined to something to make up for what looked to me like a bit of a half-hearted effort at the plate in the top of the 9th Thursday night. I joked that he had simply flailed at strike 3 in order to build the necessary momentum to turn himself back toward the dugout.
After all, the old graybeard was finishing up his third straight start, two of which hadn’t featured Jon Lester, so I’m sure he was feeling a little tired. His arm certainly seemed plenty strong though, as evidenced by his perfect throws to nab two would-be base-stealers earlier in the game.
But with two on and two out and the dangerous Anthony Rendon at the plate in the bottom of the 9th, Ross saw Clint Robinson straying a bit too far from first and he popped up like a cat and fired a lightning-fast snap throw to Anthony Rizzo for the final out. If you had told me the grizzled backstop could move that fast, I wouldn’t have believed you.
The best part of the play may have been Ross’s reaction to it. I had thought he was a little lackadaisical at the plate earlier, but he was a man afire after sealing the game with his quick thinking and quicker action.
Here’s a look at another screencap I grabbed (thanks, DVR!) in the euphoric wake of the moment:
And if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, MLB.com put together a great video of the play that includes the radio and TV calls from both the Cubs and Nationals. It’s really cool to get the excitement from both Len Kasper and Pat Hughes and then the deflated “Uh-oh” from Nats play-by-play man Bob Carpenter.
One of the angles appears to show that Rizzo didn’t actually apply the tag in time, but all that matters now is the call.
So the next time you wonder why the Cubs choose to retain a guy who generally only catches every 5th day and who’s batting average makes even Luis Valbuena’s look good, remember this game. I know I will.