Who would have thought Ben Zobrist would be the powerhouse that he’s become? Yesterday, as the Cubs gave the Nationals a good beating on the way to a 8-6 way too close to call victory, Zobrist crushed two homers.
“I’ve seen this before, and it’s so nice to see this power resurgence,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who has known Zobrist since their days together with the Rays. “He’s getting pitches and not missing them, and it really provides protection. The other team has to think twice, and that’s good.”
It was perfect conditions for a Cubs win. The sun was shining, the flags were blowing out and Wrigley was packed. Ernie Banks would have been proud. In fact, it goes without saying that both Ernie and Ron Santo are spending their free time right now, smiling from above at what the Cubs are accomplishing this season.
There were 4 home runs yesterday. Both Anthony Rizzo and Tommy La Stella joined in on the derby. But the fun didn’t stop there. John Lackey notched his 2000th career strikeout and the crowd cheered their approval. The home run marked Rizzo’s 10th of the season.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know I was that close,” Lackey said. “I had a runner at first and was trying to get out of the inning. I guess [2,000 K’s] means I’m old and I’ve been around a while and have done a few things.”
As much as those accolades mean too guys like Lackey, they’d trade them in for a championship ring. The Cubs can clinch the series today with a win. Jason Hammel gets the start and if there is any player who could stick it to the Nationals, it’s him. Not only is he off to an amazing start going 4-0, but he’s a whopping 9-0 against the Nationals.
Yes, summer has unofficially reached the North Side with temperatures climbing to almost 80 degrees. The Cubs are playing their best ball in over a hundred years and making fans believers.
“It’s exciting to finally play here with the wind blowing out a little bit here today. It was great,” Zobrist said. “Any time you start feeling good at the plate, it makes the game a lot more fun, especially with a nice, warm day, the wind blowing out. I think probably a week ago, both of those balls I hit today would’ve been caught, but fortunately for me today they were blown out a little bit. Just feeling good right now, and I think we’re playing great baseball.”