You have to hand it to the Chicago Cubs, it looks more and more like they have the St. Louis Cardinal’s number lately. Last night, the Cubs were in a nail biter but came out intact with a 2-1 victory over their division rivals.
It was Jason Hammel‘s RBI double that sealed the deal in the fourth inning. What is it about Cub’s patchers hitting a lot this season? Was that the reason that Joe Maddon kind of switched back to pitcher’s batting last? Was that his secret weapon? Forget Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant, I’m picking these guys as my hitters in my pool.
“We hit every day, but I’m not trying anything different,” Hammel said. “I’m trying to get the barrel out. I had a pitch down and in that I could handle. As long as I can put good wood on it, maybe I can squeak it through a hole.”
Although Jason Heyward hasn’t been the offensive weapon that the Cubs hope to have, his output in the field has been nothing short of awesome. Last night was no exception when Heyward threw a heat seeker from way far out to get the Matt Holiday at home plate.
“I just want to work at it,” Heyward said. “I just try to know where everybody’s going to be on the field. I knew who was hitting, somebody who hits to right field often, know who’s running. You always want to think about those things before the play happens and it develops. Expect the worst thing to happen, expect to have to make a diving play, expect the ball to be hit to you. You want to be in every spot.”
Perhaps then, that it’s Heyward’s defence the Cubs wanted in the first place.
The Cubs are really on a roll now with the pitchers contributing behind the plate as well as the front. I’m not quite sure it was Maddon’s expectations of that happening during spring training but Cubs’ fans rejoice because it’s turning into some exciting baseball.
“You can’t expect that to continue,” Maddon said. “Technically, we have some guys with good swings. If a pitcher makes a mistake, they have the ability to do what you saw tonight. If you watch them all, and break them all down, they go up to the plate and do things right.”
No, we can’t expect that to continue but we also know that once a player finds their groove, then we can expect the consistency to continue throughout the season. I’ve always thought that pitchers should be able to hit maybe not quite as well as batters but be able to pose an offensive threat when the situation arises. There’s been a long standing debate on the roles of the DH’s but baseball is about every player putting their stamp on things in the game and not have one guy riding the pine waiting to wallop the ball into oblivion. It’s a two way game.
The Cubs prove that this season.