Andy Martino, Daily News
"It's amazing to say, but they won despite him, not because of him," said one rival scout Thursday morning, echoing an opinion that bounced around baseball all Wednesday night and into the morning. "He choked."The Inning The Cubs Stole
Wednesday night, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was cruising, and Maddon decided to get cute. Like a child demanding a new toy, even though the one he had was perfectly fine, the antsy manager started warming up Jon Lester, and called on him with two outs in the fifth inning ...
[E]ven though Lester ended up pitching effectively, the manager's early hook on Hendricks set into motion a complicated bullpen mess that was entirely avoidable, and led to an exhausted Chapman allowing a game-tying homer to Rajai Davis. Maddon merely needed to stay inside himself and manage as if this were a regular game, and he likely would have won easily.
Dave Cameron, Fangraphs
I don't know if there's any way to tell the story of Game 7 without talking about how that game was almost lost in the bottom of the ninth on multiple occasions. An overworked pitcher with nothing left, throwing meatballs to Cleveland's best hitters, and it somehow resulted in a 1-2-3 inning. That's baseball for you.
The Cubs absolutely deserve to be champions today. They were the best team of 2016, and this time, the postseason rewarded season-long excellence. But man, that bottom of the ninth. That could have so easily gone differently. That probably should have gone differently.