CHICAGO -- The Cubs' best hope of hitting their way back into what became an 8-3 loss in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series left Starlin Castro's bat at 107 mph, according to Statcast™. That's the same exit velocity that had carried Lucas Duda's three-run home run to the bleachers in the first inning.
Now it was the fourth, and the Cubs faced a 6-0 deficit, but had the bases loaded with no outs against Mets rookie left-hander Steven Matz. Castro ripped a first-pitch sinker for a line drive that had the left-field corner and three Cubs runs written all over it, only to see Mets third baseman David Wright react just in time to catch the baseball for the game's defining defensive play.
"My first instinct was I thought it might have broken my finger," Wright said. "I thought it was going to drag me into left field. That ball was absolutely scorched.
"It was just lucky it was somewhere near me, because if that ball is a foot higher, that's a three-run double and who knows where we're at right now."
The Cubs settled for one run in the inning and never got closer than five runs in the game. The Mets swept the series in four games and are headed to the World Series.
"I asked David Wright how he caught that ball," said Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who was standing at second when Wright made the play. "He said, 'It caught me.' If he didn't do that, it's a completely different game."
Said Matz, the beneficiary of Wright's quick reflexes: "That's why we're going to the World Series -- for stuff like that."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.