CHICAGO -- Call it feature or bug depending upon your partisanship, but it's a distinctly National League phenomenon that Tony Wolters, the Rockies' third catcher and .170 hitter during the regular season, was pressed into duty with the entire 2018 season likely on the line.
Double-switched into the game in the 12th inning (Wolters said later he'd stretched four times during the game), Wolters in defiance of almost everything, including the numbers, came through in the 13th:
Kyle Hendricks, a true changeup artist, is pretty tough on left-handed hitters. He got ahead 0-2 on Wolters with a pair of those changeups (". . . I could have swung twice," Wolters said of the first changeup he saw), and then he tried to put him away with a fastball that missed up. He went back to the changeup, and Wolters, perhaps anticipating such a sequence, stayed back, poked the outside pitch for an RBI single, and took the Rockies' chances of winning the 2018 NL Wild Card Game from just shy of 50 percent to 83.2 percent. "See it out over, find a hole, put it in the outfield," Wolters said of his approach.
And with that one modest swing, a batsman who hadn't registered a hit since Sept. 10, a player who may not even be on the roster for the NLDS he helped the Rockies reach, overturned many an assumption. It's no exaggeration to say that one of the worst hitters during the 2018 season came up with biggest hit of that season.