The first inning yesterday featured the Chicago Cubs flailing away against persistently good (former Cubs pitching prospect) Zack Godley.
As Michael noted at BIF this morning, their efforts earned them the very rare four strikeout inning. Fortunately for the Cubs, those four strikeouts were sandwiched by a Kris Bryant single and an Anthony Rizzo walk.
Which led to a bizarre and wonderful moment, when Victor Caratini struck out swinging … and Kris Bryant scored from second base on the play:
— Josh Frydman (@Josh_Frydman) August 13, 2017
You gotta love that. Like Javy Baez earlier in the series (and like Bryant earlier this year), Bryant was going with the pitch on a 3-2 count, and wound up taking an extra base – the one that counts for a run – in a situation you totally wouldn’t have expected it. It helped that the pitcher fell down for reasons that only he and the groundhog understand.
You’d be hard pressed to find a studied observer of the game who doesn’t concede that, in addition to all the more obvious things he does, Bryant is one of the best baserunners in baseball. The fact that he shows up as a negative value baserunner this season according to FanGraphs (behind guys like Yadi Molina, Jose Abreu, and Mark Trumbo) makes me question whether that’s a stat we can trust on a year-to-year basis, or if it needs more data to stabilize.
Extra bases like the one he took yesterday are common for Bryant, who is also nearly impossible to double up. He may not steal many bases, but the guy is special when he’s on them.