Chicago Cubs: Miguel Montero was still clutch in a smaller sample
While the veteran didn’t have as many opportunities for the Chicago Cubs this season–Miguel Montero still had some clutch moments for the Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs are the World Champions and yesterday Kris Bryant was named NL MVP of the Year. In only his second full season, Bryant has established himself as a bona fide hitter and fielder. However, the team had many players who came through in crucial moments.
None bigger than perhaps, Miguel Montero, the 33-year-old reserve catcher who lost his starting job to upstart Willson Contreras. Contreras was the 24-year-old rookie who made quite a name for himself this season. However, Montero had three huge hits down the stretch, counting the playoffs and we will recount them here.
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“Miggy’s” grand-slam vs. the LA Dodgers in game one of the NLCS. The Cubs were tied going into the bottom of the eighth inning at Wrigley Field but mounted a rally against the Dodgers’ bullpen. LA manager Dave Roberts brought in pitcher Joe Blanton to work in the eighth. But Ben Zobrist doubled, Jason Heyward walked. Javier Baez flew out for the first out.
Chris Coghlan was intentionally walked because he hit well against Blanton. Just like that, the bases were loaded. Then Montero was sent to the plate as a pinch-hitter for Aroldis Chapman, the reliever. OK, Chapman was now out of the game. Blanton got ahead of Montero 0-2 in the count. But then he grooved a slider which Montero sent deep into the right field stands for a thundering grand-slam!
Wrigley was rocking, and I thought–this team is different from even last year’s team. They don’t give up. The Cubs had a 7-3 lead and next better Dexter Fowler also connected off Blanton for back-to-back home runs to make it 8-3, Cubs. Montero was the man for the moment. Montero told ESPN, that he was looking to just “ get a base hit.” He had fallen behind in the count and wanted to make contact and “put the ball in play.” The baseball Gods smiled on Montero and the Chicago Cubs and — voila! A Grand Slam.
Montero’s big moment
Next big hit for Montero was his insurance single in the top of the tenth inning vs. Cleveland in a thrilling game 7 Montero hit a sharp single to score Anthony Rizzo to the delight of the Cubs fans and Chicago had an 8-6 lead. Cleveland scored a run in the tenth on a single by Rajai Davis to make it 8-7 and Montero’s hit was a huge insurance run. The Cubs held on for the win.
Montero’s third big hit was his walk-off home run against the Brewers on Sept. 15. The win a 5-4 game that went to the tenth inning and led to the victory party in the clubhouse later that day. The Chicago Cubs had clinched the Division the night before when St. Louis lost, but this win cemented it and served notice that the Cubs were a team to reckon with.
Montero hit .216 for the season. He went 2-for-11 in the postseason. One of those hits was his Grand Slam, the other his key single in Game 7. Talk about making your hits count!
Hats off to Miggy for coming through, and all the Cubs for making this postseason a special one.