Who were the unsung heroes of Game 2 for the Chicago Cubs? We’ll go with the bridge between Jake Arrieta and Aroldis Chapman and the guy behind the plate, who didn’t have any hits but made a nifty impact nonetheless.
It was a lefty who came out of the bullpen in the sixth inning, one obtained in a midseason trade to bolster the team’s depth and get big outs when needed.
But this wasn’t Andrew Miller. It was Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery.
Montgomery isn’t the star Miller is. He’s more of a poor man’s Miller. But in Game 2, he delivered six important outs to get the ball to Chapman.
Game 2 of the World Series was the third time this postseason that Montgomery pitched multiple innings in relief; he has done so once in each round. He got a loss in the LDS, though he was impressive for four innings before allowing a walk-off hit in the 13th inning. He pitched two innings to get the win in Game 4 of the LCS against the Dodgers.
What was noteworthy from this appearance was that though Montgomery is considerably better against lefties, he got five of his six outs against right-handed batters, including three of his four strikeouts. To do so, he went to his changeup. He threw it six times, all for strikes, and netted three outs with it.
On a day when Jake Arrieta was effectively wild, he needed a catcher to help get him through, and Willson Contreras filled that role.
Contreras has had the two best games by a Cubs catcher this postseason, as far as getting called strikes for his pitchers: Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants and Game 2 of the World Series.
On Wednesday, Contreras got four called strikes on pitches that are called for strikes less than 25 percent of the time. In each of the four instances, the Cubs pitcher (Arrieta for three, Montgomery for one) retired the hitter on whom he got the call.
This was a rare game in which Contreras didn’t make an offensive contribution. His 0-for-3 dropped his postseason slashline to .360/.429/.520 in 28 plate appearances. He leads Cubs position players who have played more than two games (eliminating Kyle Schwarber) in all three of those stats.