I’ll tell you what: while each of Kyle Schwarber and Javy Baez provide us with plenty of next-day-worthy highlights throughout the season, rarely are these posts in reference to their arms.
Schwarber hit one off the scoreboard? Yeah, sure, I believe it. Baez did a literal back-flip to tag the runner out at second? Uh, huh. Sounds about right. But these two guys are athletes (well, to varying degrees, of course) and their individual skill-sets range far beyond the box we, as fans, tend to put them in.
Indeed, even the Cubs’ own knowledgable announcer, Len Kasper, was surprised to see this Kyle Schwarber throw nail Tucker Barnhart at the plate in the top of the second inning:
As you can hear, Kasper didn’t even think Schwarber was going to throw that ball home, let alone unleash a deadly accurate rope that hit Avila’s glove on the fly and got the second out of the inning.
And remember, the score was tied at the time, so that out at the plate prevented the Reds from taking the lead and led to the second out of the inning (which, in turn, provided Quintana with some much-needed breathing room (he walked the next batter) to eventually get out of the inning).
And then not an inning later, a jealous Javy Baez wanted all of the defensive attention back on him, so he did this:
Javy fields a grounder in the hole – one he had to back-hand in the outfield grass, to be specific – and fires am absolute LASER to first base, nailing Scooter Gennett (a left-handed batter, mind you!) at first. That’s one crazy impressive throw across the body.
Also, a crazy aside: Baez hit a homer off Gennett later in the ball game and Gennett retired Justin Grimm, a batter – it was a weird day.
Baez hasn’t quite been able to replace Addison Russell’s steady defense at shortstop – especially, as I’ve noticed, on balls hit to Baez’s right like this one – but he made it work here and got Quintana out of another inning while things were still tied and could’ve gone in any direction with a runner in scoring position.
Nicely done, gents. Now go hit some more dingers.