|by Cole Little|
Although he struggled out of the gate, Strop was allowed to work himself out of the jam by remaining in the game for the entirety of the top half of the ninth inning. After getting bailed out by a great throw home from third baseman David Bote for the second out of the frame, Strop manned down and accrued a game-ending strikeout of Austin Hedges on five pitches.
Immediately following Hedges's whiff on the third strike, Strop screamed like a banshee and celebrated by sucker-punching the air several times. Then, in typical melodramatic Strop fashion, the passionate relief pitcher displayed his appreciation for Bote, who made the game-saving play, by intensely screaming and menacingly pointing at him.
Of course, Strop meant well, as he was fired up after closing out a hard-fought game and overcoming his early woes by going on to tally his sixth save of the year. Strop did give up two runs in the ninth and nearly blew a three-run lead, but the clutch strikeout made the negatives of Strop's appearance practically moot. Plus, it set the stage for perhaps the most impassioned mound celebration in the history of the Cubs organization.
Cole Little can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org