We’ve been waiting for the Chicago Cubs’ power to show back up consistently (together with the issues with runners in scoring position, they are the major issues with the offense lately), and it came back in a big way – at least on three swings – last night.
Down 1-0 thanks to a homer by opposing pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, the Cubs got their first run in 15 innings (and their first hit of the game) on the strength of Kris Bryant’s 26th homer of the year. You can watch the homer here, which was Bryant’s first since the All-Star break, and tied his total from 2015.
Although he’d been homerless for a little while, Bryant hasn’t really been slumping lately – he’s still hitting .283/.377/.550 on the year, with a nice 146 wRC+, tied for 10th best in baseball.
But a tie game is not a victory, and Javy Baez gave the Cubs the runs they’d need to win with this no-doubt two-run shot an inning later. Baez has worked hard to control his swing and improve his contact rate, but boy howdy, when he swings hard and rips one, there’s nothing prettier in the game. I mean, heck – that *was* a controlled swing for him!
At 406 feet, that was the Cubs’ longest blast of the night. It was Baez’s 11th homer of the season.
Baez has his season line up to an impressive .287/.327/.474, which is good for a 113 wRC+. Given his defensive ability, defensive versatility, and baserunning ability, I really don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’s been one of the most valuable players on the team this year.
Addison Russell then put the icing on the cake, with a four-run homer – that’s a grand slam, dontchaknow – off of former Cub Jacob Turner:
Russell’s homers pretty much always look like that, don’t they? Quick through the zone, and somehow the ball just explodes off the bat.
Russell’s line is up to .248/.338/.417, and a 101 wRC+. Above-average bat and excellent defense at shortstop? Yes please.