There are some things that Kyle Schwarber can still get better at defensively. His range is not quite up there with the best, and he doesn’t always get the best read.
But there are two things, in my opinion, that he does very well out there: (1) he gloves the balls he reaches fairly well (think of the multiple times he’s gone into the stands to catch one), and (2) he has a really strong, accurate arm.
He showed off that second one in the first inning tonight to help bail John Lackey out of a bases loaded jam on a would-be sac fly:
Schwarber has such a quick, catcher’s release on his outfield throws, while maintaining enough arm strength to get the job done. No, that wasn’t the deepest fly ball, but that was still a great play. It was also the second time in the series that Schwarber has gunned down a runner at the plate.
In the second inning, the Reds loaded the bases again, and once again gave up an out at home plate.
This time, it was Anthony Rizzo showing off his quick, strong arm:
Very well done by Rizzo there, and also by catcher Alex Avila to swing quickly over with the ball and cover the entire area where the runner would be sliding.
So far, the Cubs’ defense has come up big in this one.