You go, we go.
Through a tight five innings, each of the Cubs and Cardinals last night had some frustrating innings – either too brief, or too close to scoring without any payoff. With a large strike zone and two starters dealing, it had the feel of a game where one run could be enough to win it.
As it turned out, one run was enough to win it, but the Cubs added four other runs because it’s the Cardinals and they felt like really hammering home the point.
That one run – the first run – came off the bat of (who else?) Dexter Fowler in the top of the sixth inning, when he absolutely hammered a Mike Leake fastball that missed its spot badly:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 19, 2016
That baby came off the bat at 109.1 mph and went 435 feet, according to Home Run Tracker, making it the longest homer in baseball yesterday (tied with Trevor Story (who finally hit another one, now that he’s not facing Cubs pitchers)).
It was the second ball Fowler had blistered in the game already at that point, having doubled to the gap in left center to start the game. Unfortunately he was stranded in the first, leaving him no choice but to take matters into his own hands, apparently, in the sixth.
Are you prepared for the almost-daily check-in with Fowler’s silly stats?
His wRC+ is back up 219, sixth best in baseball. His .500 OBP (that’s every other time he comes to the plate!) trails only Christian Yelich at .510. His .711 SLG is eighth best in baseball.
And his 1.5 WAR is tops in baseball. No other player has more than 1.1.
That one makes me chuckle, not only because it’s small sample and mostly useless as an actual evaluative tool at this point (the defensive component needs to stabilize and WAR can still go down), but also because the various projection systems had him worth 1.5 to 2.0 WAR the entire season in 2016. If he plays replacement-level ball from here on out (the guy has played 13 games – that’s it), Fowler will still just about meet those projections.
I suspect he won’t, however, be playing replacement-level ball for the rest of the year. The dude is so locked in. And I’m immediately reminded that he was so very close to not being a Cub again this year. Scary thought.