Kyle Schwarber has unquestionably had his warts with runners on base, but, hey, when you’re the leadoff guy batting behind the pitcher, you might not have to worry about that too often!
I kid, sort of, but I did like to see Kyle Schwarber get right back to raking last night after being re-inserted in the leadoff spot, following a one-day return of The Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All-Time.
In the 4th inning, with the Cubs having gone down 4-0 in the first and then worked their way back to 4-3 (in part because Schwarber led off the game with a walk and scored in the first), Schwarber fought off pitch after pitch against Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, eventually getting himself in a position to do this on pitch 11:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 9, 2019
On the day, Schwarber required a whopping 29 pitches from Cardinals pitchers, homering, doubling, walking, and scoring twice on his way to a huge night for a leadoff hitter. His season slash line tipped back over average in the process (.233/.338/.455, 104 wRC+).
And Schwarber *did* get a hit with a runner in scoring position, too, ripping a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner for a double i the Cubs’ huge 6th inning:
Given Schwarber’s skill set right now, and given the composition of the rest of the lineup, I’m just fine with him being the semi-permanent leadoff hitter for the team. The experiment didn’t quite work out the last time the Cubs tried, as maybe it got into his head a little too much. This time around, he’s hitting a very good .244/.333/.547 (124 wRC+) since becoming the leadoff man back on May 16.