The Cubs notched their 33rd come-from-behind victory of the season on Thursday, the most in the Majors, with a three-run ninth inning to beat the Diamondbacks, 7-6.
The bottom of the ninth began with the Cubs down 6-4, with closer Brad Boxberger on the hill for Arizona. Ben Zobrist, who was out of the lineup for rest, pinch hit for Eddie Butler and induced a leadoff walk—one of his many eclectic skills on the diamond. After a Javy Baez lineout, David Bote, promoted before Thursday’s game, roped a dinger to left to tie the ballgame.
Up comes Anthony Rizzo. Two pitches later, the game’s over. No Diamondback on the field even moves an inch on Rizzo’s gargantuan 453-foot homer.
This was all after, by the way, the Cubs were down 6-1 to begin their half of the fifth inning. The win extends their lead in the National League Central by three games over the Brewers.
Oh, and a few hours later, they won out on the Cole Hamels sweepstakes. Though he’s kinda shit the bed the last two seasons, and has a godawful 5.20 FIP in 2018, the Cubs aren’t in a position to turn away experienced arms right now. Marquee preseason acquisition Yu Darvish flopped and then hurt himself—he hasn’t pitched since May. Former ERA god Kyle Hendricks is putting up 4.05 this year. Jon Lester’s numbers look good until you reach his 3.43 BB/9 and 4.59 FIP. Tyler Chatwood, another winter signing, is a trainwreck (he started today). And Jose Quintana is on pace for his least productive season since his rookie year.
But despite all that disappointment on the mound, the fortunate Cubs are still 60-42, and they hold the most wins of any NL team. Even though it’s been touch-and-go in too many games this year, they’re still one of the favorites to win the pennant, especially in the relatively weak National League. If Hamels can show even just a few flashes of his pre-2017 form, and some of the other guys on the mound can get back to normal, the Cubbies are rocking a decent rotation with the playoffs in sight. The Cubs—and some of their annoying fans—really don’t need the luck anymore. But they’re getting it so far this season.