The Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds last night 3-0 behind a dominant pitching performance from all corners, and, of course, a couple home runs.
The first of those homers, which came in the first inning in a steady downpour, was Anthony Rizzo’s 30th of the season:
That homer was pretty standard new Rizzo: he crowds the plate to dominate the outer half, and if you try to bust him in (or, in Cueto’s case, miss way inside), he’s quick enough to get around on it and do that. This is emblematic (as in, one of many reasons) of why so many people are confident that his explosion this year is for real. This guy is an impressive, polished-looking hitter already. Where are the holes? And he’s such a hard worker that he’ll keep trying to get better. We obsess about the prospects, but we can’t forget: Rizzo is already doing what we *dream* about the prospects doing.
Also: I’m not usually one for counting stats, but 30 homers is pretty damn awesome.
The second homer for the Cubs was of the “holy crap, how did he do that?” variety. It was from Arismendy Alcantara, and you can watch the homer here. But the shot I want to show you is this one:
That was a pitch on the outer third of the plate, nearly a foot out of the strike zone. Alcantara swings at his shoulders, quick wrists it, and doesn’t just barely get it out. The thing was a no-doubter.
Cueto missed his spot with what Brooks calls a cutter, but it looked like an 87mph hanger of some kind. In any case, it was an ineffective pitch, but I’m not even sure you can call a pitch that’s nearly a foot too high a “mistake.” I suppose because it was up and away, and under 90 mph, Alcantara had plenty of time to get around on it. Still, don’t take anything away from Alcantara: that’s a super impressive homer right there, and, if he didn’t have such strong wrists and good bat speed, that ball doesn’t come close to going out.