CHICAGO — The chance has been there for Michael A. Taylor. A extremely regarded prospect who was drafted in 2009 (the identical yr one Stephen Strasburg was the No. 1 general decide), Taylor had a shot two years in the past when Denard Span acquired harm. He received one other probability final yr when Ben Revere received harm. Let’s simply say each experiences left Taylor in search of one other probability.
And all that made him not the No. 1 option to hit the primary grand slam in Nationals playoff historical past.
However that was what Taylor turned Wednesday. The Cubs made a pitching change on a 1-zero rely with the bases loaded within the eighth inning and introduced in nearer Wade Davis to face Taylor with the sport nonetheless unsure.
It wasn’t unsure for lengthy.
“I didn’t assume any proper-handed hitter might hit that ball out of the ballpark like he did tonight,” Washington supervisor Dusty Baker stated of Taylor who, amid the depressing climate at Wrigley Subject, slugged the second pitch from Davis into the basket simply above the wall in proper area to offer the 5-zero rating the Nationals used to tie the NLDS at 2-2 and pressure Recreation 5 on Thursday in Washington.
“Main as much as it, I felt fairly good on the ball I fouled off,” Taylor stated. “The at-bat earlier than [a strikeout], I type of obtained caught considering with the pitcher, guessing somewhat bit. So I attempted to stay with my strategy proper there and simply get one other pitch out over [the plate].
“After which afterwards, I used to be type of numb, simply operating across the bases. Truthfully, I didn’t assume it was going to get out the best way the wind was blowing in.”
Taylor was one at-bat shy of four hundred this season, however slugged 19 homers, displaying his scorching-prospect standing was for actual, regardless of the ups and downs.
“Mikey is such a fantastic individual. He’s a terrific teammate and he does all of the little issues,” Strasburg stated. “He works actually arduous. And you recognize, we acquired drafted the identical yr. He received drafted as a shortstop. So I met him fairly early on in our profession.
“To see him popping out a middle fielder and develop and make it to the large leagues, and cope with the ups and downs and get to this place and hit a grand slam like that, that’s fairly cool.”