Chicago Cubs 2016: Top moments from the season

Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

June: Maddon has pitchers play in the outfield

The Chicago Cubs’ momentum continued in June. They won 16 more games that month while losing 12. Even though they did not play on the same historic level they were on, their lead in the NL Central grew to double figures.

On July 28th, the Cubs played the Reds. For the past week, they suffered through a cold snap. Looking back at it, this was the start of their toughest moment of the season. It was the start of a 20-game stretch in which they lost 15 of them.

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When they faced the Reds, however, they were in the midst of losing six of their previous eight games. They were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals and lost three of four to the Miami Marlins.

This game went into extra innings. In fact, it turned out to be the Cubs’ longest game of the season. It went fifteen innings.

The Cubs did not have position players left, so Maddon again used his ingenuity. In the 13th inning, he brought in pitcher Travis Wood. Nothing crazy right? Wrong! He inserted Wood into LEFT FIELD, replacing Chris Coughlan. He wanted to take advantage of the righty-lefty matchups. Joel Peralta got a double play to end the inning.

That was not the end of it, though. In the 14th, Maddon sent Spencer Patton to start the inning. After Patton got the first out, Maddon brought in Wood to pitch. He had Patton go out to left. Wood induced an out, then went back to left and Patton pitched again.

But wait, there’s more.

The Cubs scored five runs in the 15th inning, four of them on a Baez grand slam. To add to the craziness, that grand slam was the first time a Cub hit one that late in a game. Also, Maddon had to use pitcher Jason Hammel as a pinch hitter. Of course!

In the bottom of the 15th, Maddon brought in Pedro Strop. You know where he went, right? Yes, he went to left field! It was either Strop or Hammel going out there, and no way was a starting pitcher going out there. There are limits to Maddon’s craziness, you know.

Wood pitched the inning without problems and the Cubs walked away with a crazy victory. Maddon used three pitchers in left field. The last time a team used multiple pitchers in the outfield was thirty years ago, when the New York Mets used Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell.

It was a crazy game, and it showed how the Chicago Cubs pulled out all the stops to get a victory in 2016.