While Brett sleeps off his overnight drive from Ohio (boo!) to Chicago (yay!), we’re going to have our favorite kind of party here at Bleacher Nation: a Cubs Homer Party!
Last night, the Cubs’ bats awoken in a fit of rage, having heard our collective battle cries for some life.
And when the W flag was raised, the Cubs had scored 9 runs on 13 hits (4 for extra bases). Three of those extra base hits, of course, were home runs.
Kris Bryant kicked things off in the first, Addison Russell put our minds somewhat at ease (not) in the third, and Anthony Rizzo put things away in the ninth. Let’s take a look back at each of those homers and pour on some love.
Like I said, Kris Bryant gave the Cubs the lead with a solo home run in the top of the first inning, a lead the Cubs would not surrender for the rest of the game. But more importantly, I might argue, he made the opposing starter, Josh Tomlin, lose a bit of confidence in his curveball (that’s the pitch that has been carving up the Cubs this postseason) and completely flipped the early momentum of the first inning:
Before Bryant’s homer, Dexter Fowler had lined out to the third baseman and Kyle Schwarber had immediately grounded out on the very first pitch. With the Indians deep and well-rested bullpen looming and an 0-2 count on Bryant, it already felt like the Cubs’ early window to score was narrowing.
But in came Kris Bryant, the likely 2016 NL MVP.
He took a two-strike hanging curveball deep into left field for his third home run of the postseason. According to Statcast, the ball traveled 433 feet out to left at 106.2 MPH, carrying a Bryant-esq 35 degree launch angle. In other words, there was no doubt about it. That was Bryant’s third home run of the postseason, and his first of four hits on the night.
The inning continued, and Tomlin watched as Anthony Rizzo (single) and Ben Zobrist (single) scored on an Addison Russell bloop double.
All because of a two strike, hanging curveball meeting the MVP. Cubs 3, Indians 0.
Let’s move onto the third.
After Jason Heyward, Javy Baez, and Dexter Fowler went 1-2-3 in the second, Kyle Schwarber was set to lead off in the top of the third. He worked a seven-pitch walk, which (after a Kris Bryant fly out) was followed up with back-to-back singles from Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist. Terry Francona went to his pen and picked Dan Otero as the lucky winner to face Addison Russell with the bases loaded.
Then, after getting up in the count 2-0, Russell did this:
A 434 foot – that’s one more than Bryant (lolol) – 108 MPH Grand Freakin’ Slam in Game 6 of the World Series. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. The homer gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead, which, I think we all knew what that meant, but were afraid to say it. Of course, that doesn’t mean I was afraid to celebrate it.
I don't have a voice left after that Addison Russell Grand Slam. 7-0 Cubs.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) November 2, 2016
That homer ostensibly put the game away, even if our collective butts wouldn’t unclench for another six innings. According to FanGraphs, it lowered the Indians’ win probability down to 3.6% in just the third inning
That was Russell’s second hit of the night, and third home run of the postseason. After a slow start to October, Russell now has a .964 OPS in his last eight games. He essentially won the game for the Cubs last night.
But Anthony Rizzo wouldn’t let Russell and Bryant have all the fun; he was here first, after all. So when the Cubs’ lead shrunk to a mere five runs heading into the ninth, Rizzo made sure we’d all have a little more breathing room before the last half inning.
After Kris Bryant worked a two-out single, Rizzo took an 0-1 change-up way out to right:
Rizzo’s homer traveled 395 feet out to right, coming off the bat at 105.0 MPH. It came as part of a three-hit, three-run, two-RBI night and a dazzlingly hot World Series altogether. Game 6 was Rizzo’s fifth straight game with at least a hit and he now has a 1.098 OPS in the World Series.
We asked the Cubs to turn up the heat on offense and they answered that call. From Kris Bryant, to Addison Russell, to Anthony Rizzo. Cubs Win. Cubs Win.