Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s gamble didn’t pay off and his team paid for it with a 4-1 loss in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night. The skipper opted to bring in John Lackey in the ninth inning rather than Wade Davis to pitch to Chris Taylor and Justin Turner. Lackey ran the count full before walking Taylor, then served up the three-run dinger to left-center field on a 1-0 fastball.
The game was a low-scoring affair otherwise, with each team managing just one run through the first eight innings. Dodgers starter Rich Hill went five innings, giving up one run on an Addison Russell solo home run in the top of the fifth. That was one of three hits he allowed along with a walk and eight strikeouts. Brandon Morrow pitched two innings of scoreless relief followed by Josh Fields for one out, Tony Watson for two, and Kenley Jansen for three.
On the Cubs side, Jon Lester didn’t escape the fifth inning, when he yielded a run when Turner drove in Charlie Culberson with a single to right field. Lester overall gave up three hits, walked five, and struck out two. Carl Edwards, Jr. got the final out of the fifth and then managed a scoreless sixth. Pedro Strop put up a zero in the seventh. Brian Duensing got through the eighth with no issue, then started the ninth but was lifted after striking out Kyle Farmer for the second out. That set up Lackey for Turner’s walk-off moment.
Turner’s walk-off homer is the Dodgers’ first since Kirk Gibson against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
The two clubs will take Monday off before resuming the NLCS for Game 3 on Tuesday at 9 PM ET in Chicago. Yu Darvish will start for the Dodgers opposite Kyle Hendricks.
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.