The Cubs sure are glad they’re out of Colorado and that Miller Lite went down smooth for Joe Maddon after the Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 5-1 . There were many reasons for the Cubs to cheer about and it just wasn’t the victory. Jason Heyward put one into the stands and so did Kris Bryant, oh and wait, Addison Russell continued doing his Addison Russell thing by connecting on a home run to add to his total of 13 for the season.
“Just watch me over the course of the year,” Russell said. “The numbers may not be great, but I contribute to my team every single day. We all have each others’ backs and we’re pushing forward.”
His numbers aren’t as colourful as Bryant or Rizzo’s but he’s been a threat on both sides of the ball and I’m confident that he’s in the top 5 shortstops of the National League. If he gets overlooked by folks, it’s only because he didn’t win a rookie of the year or he’s young. He was an All Star and rightfully deserved it. His defensive skills are unparalleled.
“It’s just instinct,” Russell said. “Try to get in the best position, try to track the ball, anticipate where it’s going to be hit. It’s just instinct.”
Much criticism has been piled onto the shoulders of Jason Heyward after signing that huge contract in the offseason. While nobody questions his defensive abilities, the tough Cubs crowd at Wrigley (and in Canada) have not been too kind about his plate work. When the rest of the team is doing well, it’s no wonder that folks call out their prized stud. Baseball is a finicky game that way, I guess. When you’re playing well, everyone is your friend but when things go south they turn on you. So it was great to see that home run last night. Get that elephant out of the ballpark and hopefully, an end to his slump.
“Everybody’s cheering their butts off for him,” Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said of Heyward. “We know how important he is to this team, not only offensively but in other areas. We know how hard he’s working and how he’s grinding and how he’s going about his business. There’s not a more professional guy who I’ve been around than him. … That dugout was more than ecstatic for him to make that good swing.”
There’s six weeks to go to the playoffs. The big moment that all Cubs fans have been waiting for and nervously growing their fingernails. This year the Cubs have created something extraordinarily special. The division is pretty much a lock, playoff rosters are still up in the air. I can tell you this much that it’s been a great year and as the nights feel crisper, the sadness of another summer passing and the thrill of autumn baseball looms.