The Cubs’ struggles with the bases loaded are so deep and so well known that I really don’t have to introduce it.
So when Jason Heyward walked with two outs in the first inning to load the bases for Willson Contreras, I assumed the inning was over. We all did.
But then Contreras did something fantastic. He took three straight balls off the play, laying off some nasty sliders in the process. Flaherty then came back into the zone, and Contreras fouled off pitch after pitch, before serving up the 9th pitch of the at bat into center field for a two-run single:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 5, 2020
Bonus, the long at bat and the non-out meant that Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty had to keep pushing his pitch count up, ultimately throwing 43. That was quietly one of the best at bats of the year when you consider everything.
Double bonus? Love the bat flip on the single:
Grinding AB’s 👊
Willson comes through as Cubs force Flaherty to throw 43 1st inning pitches. pic.twitter.com/oY1zPo0m6c
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) September 5, 2020