When Joe Maddon needed to call on a reliever to pitch the eighth inning of a tense, must-win postseason game in St. Louis, how many people expected Trevor Cahill to be the guy?
Maddon's bullpen is constantly changing, but even still, it was a bit shocking to see Cahill - a guy who wasn't even with the big-league Cubs until Aug. 31 - called upon in such a crucial moment of Game 2 against the Cardinals, a game the Cubs absolutely had to have after dropping the NLDS opener the night before.
But to anybody following the Cubs closely over the last six weeks, it shouldn't have come as a surprise.
Since joining the Cubs, Cahill has been good. Like, really good.
He carved out a role as a high-leverage arm out of the bullpen with 11 dominant appearances to close out the regular season after he got called up just before the Sept. 1 roster expansion.
Including the playoffs, Cahill has a 2.34 ERA and 0.86 WHIP while striking out 28 batters in 19.2 innings.
Miguel Montero spent three years catching Cahill with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2012-14 and he said this is the best he's ever seen the big right-hander.
"Bottom line right here, he's throwing a lot of strikes," Montero said before Cahill picked up a win in the NLDS-clinching Game 4 Tuesday. "In Arizona, he was really wild. He was spiking fastballs, he as probably getting ahead really quick on the hitters and then he just ended up walking them.
"Right now, he's been doing a great job for us, knock on wood. He was a pretty good acquisition by the organization in late August. I was really happy when we signed him. I actually remember texting somebody in the front office saying, 'Hey, that was a great sign.'
"Sure enough, he's been looking, and like I say - knock on wood again - hopefully he stays good."
Cahill was 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA and earned a trip to the All-Star Game and ranked ninth in the American League Cy Young race as a 22-year-old with the Oakland A's in 2010. But his transformation into a valuable high-leverage arm has been quite striking from the pitcher he's been recently, even earlier this season.
Cahill lost his role in the Diamondbacks rotation last year and wound up with a 3-12 record, 5.61 ERA and 1.608 WHIP.
This season, he had a 7.52 ERA in 15 games with the rebuilding Atlanta Braves and was outright released by the team in late June. He signed with the Cubs as a free agent Aug. 18 and the rest is history.
"It just says a lot about [Cubs president Theo Epstein] and them for signing me," Cahill said. "I was in a place where I didn't think anybody wanted me. I was pitching batting practice in Triple-A.
"Apparently, they saw something in me. [Theo's] like, we want you to go to Triple-A and see what you can do out of the bullpen. I went there and fortunately, pitched well.
"They called me up and I didn't know what capacity they'd use me in. But I was just like, 'I'm gonna be ready all the time.' Fortunately, I've pitched well enough. I still don't know what capacity they're gonna use me in, but I'm just ready to go from the first inning to the ninth."
Cahill said he was at the point where he was seriously wondering whether he had a future in baseball at age 27 and with an All-Star nod on his resume.
But it all worked out and now he's one of Maddon's most trusted relievers, in part, because the Cubs let him be himself.
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If that sounds familiar, it should, because it's the same story Jake Arrieta went through after struggling with the Baltimore Orioles and then finding Cy Young-level success with this Cubs pitching infrastructure.
"He was probably, mentally-wise, he lost it a little bit," Montero said. "He probably didn't have anybody helping him, behind him, and then he came here and as soon as he came here, I sat down with him and said, 'You know what, I heard you were changing your delivery in Arizona in Spring Training, I heard they changed your arm angle and whatnot, blah, blah, blah.
"I want you to be you. Just go out there and throw the ball. Just be you and don't worry about the rest. I mean, he's been impressive, man. He's probably been as good as I've ever seen him."