Kris Bryant continues to impress and prove that he is more than just a home run hitter, even though he hit another longball Tuesday night. Bryant has gone yard in three of his last four games after the media started making a big deal about him not hitting the ball out of the park.
In 24 games, Kris Bryant is batting .276/.417/.460 with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 20 walks with 34 strikeouts for a .876 OPS. But beyond the stats, Bryant is showing there is more to his game than power and patience. And he received a big compliment from his skipper Tuesday after he turned a routine, ground ball out into an infield single for the second time in a week.
Joe Maddon called Bryant a “baseball player” and explained in his post-game meeting with the media, “He’s a guy that plays the whole game and understands the concepts of offense and defense, and offense includes baserunning. Why is it so difficult to respect 90 feet? I don’t understand that, I don’t get it. That sub-group out there that doesn’t believe in that stuff, I don’t understand that.”
Kris Bryant obviously had a good night at the plate (3-for-4 with a home run, a triple and a walk) and came within a double of the cycle. Bryant told ESPN Chicago that he liked the swing he had on his triple more than the home run. “That’s the swing that I want. I haven’t been able to that a lot up here. I was pretty pleased with that one.”
For a little while Tuesday afternoon it appeared LHP Tsuyoshi Wada was on his way back to the big leagues. Wada was scratched from his start with the Iowa Cubs and the speculation began. Wada was not hurt and appeared to be a healthy scratch.
Wada’s was pushed from Tuesday to Thursday. And he will start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa, not the Cubs.
By moving Wada’s next start two days, the Cubs have Wada pitching on the same day as Travis Wood. The Cubs have been discussing ways to improve the rotation and bullpen. Lining up Wood and Wada is the right thing to do. Plus, Wada started his rehab assignment on April 17, pitchers can be on a rehab assignment for 30 days.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Even with leading baseball in strikeouts this season, the Cubs are getting on base and taking their walks according to a report from Bruce Levine. The Cubs are tied for eighth in baseball in on-base percentage (.325) and tied for fifth in walks (114).
• Miguel Montero tweeted after Tuesday’s victory, “Great win today #WeAreGood.”
• Anthony Rizzo is calling the Rizzo-Bryant duo ‘The Bash Brothers’ and the two will drive the Cubs according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. But Bryant doesn’t think they have the forearms to do the forearm smash that Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire made famous … so the Cubs have ‘Bash Brothers’ at the Double-A and big league level this season.
• According to ELIAS, this is the third consecutive season that two Cubs have hit consecutive home runs on consecutive pitches, Anthony Rizzo is involved in all three.
• Christopher Kamka tweeted some Anthony Rizzo info Tuesday night: In 201 plate appearances versus lefties in 2014-15, Rizzo is hitting .323/.443/.524 with eight home runs. In 30 plate appearances this season, Rizzo is 11-for-24 against lefties (.458/.567/.625). Rizzo entered play Tuesday night one of three players with seven or more home runs and seven or more stolen bases … the other two, Mike Trout and Justin Upton.
• Jon Lester tweeted Tuesday, “Bats, gloves & pen all stepped up big last night! Still not where I want to be but not far off! Thanks for hanging in there with me! #NVRQT”
• Jon Lester and Joe Maddon clarified the comment Maddon made Monday about Lester being injured in Spring Training. Lester was not hurt, just dealt with a dead, or tired, arm in Spring Training that put him behind “the eight ball” according to a report from the Sun-Times.
• Dexter Fowler has been the key to the Cubs offense. According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs are 9-5 when Fowler reaches base two or more times and 7-9 when he reaches base less than two times a game.
• The attention-seeking Cubs upstage New York pitcher’s heralded debut according to a report from the Sun-Times.
• The Des Moines Register spoke with RHP Blake Cooper and the reliever “is tuning out all the talk about him possibly being called up” to the big leagues this season. Cooper did not receive any help from his teammates Tuesday during his 1 2/3 innings. Cooper was charged with four unearned runs on two hits and a walk. Cooper struck out two batters. For the season (11 games), Cooper has allowed seven runs, three earned, on 10 hits with six walks and 16 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings (1.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP).
• Noah Syndergaard was the first Mets’ pitcher to make his big league debut at Wrigley Field in 20 years. Jason Isringhausen threw his first pitch in the majors at Wrigley in 1995.
• Mets’ catcher Kevin Plawecki grew up a Cubs fan and is living out a dream this week playing against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
• Joel Sherman broke the story Tuesday afternoon that Troy Tulowitzki is meeting with his agent in Los Angeles on Thursday “to discuss whether it’s time to ask the Rockies for a trade.”
• The Angels designated RHP Ryan Mattheus for assignment. The right handed reliever had two good seasons with the Nationals (2011-12) and appeared in one game for the Angels at the big league level this year. Mattheus pitched in 11 games for Triple-A Salt Lake and allowed five runs, four earned, on 10 hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings (2.84 ERA, 0.95 WHIP).
And last, but not least, Bruce Springsteen released a classic 30 years ago today … click here for the video.
This Day In Cubstory
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Joe Magrane
1982 – The Cubs became the first team in the history of the game to win 8,000 games. Allen Ripley and Lee Smith combined on a 5-0 victory over Houston. The Cubs reached 8,000 wins in game No. 15,337 in the 107th season of the franchise.
1969 – Ernie Banks drove in seven runs with two, three-run homers and a double in a 19-0 victory over the Padres. Banks’ seven-RBI day gave him 1,500 RBI for his career. The Cubs became the first team in 60 years with three straight shutouts. Dick Selma followed shut out performances by Ferguson Jenkins and Ken Holtzman.
1962 – Barney Schultz won both ends of a doubleheader. Schultz posted the wins out of the Cubs’ pen and the second game marked the ninth straight game he appeared in, a record for relief pitchers. The Cubs beat the Phillies 8-7 and 8-5. The day featured home runs from Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ken Hubbs and Lou Brock.
1960 – Cubs traded Cal Neeman and Tony Taylor to Phillies for Ed Bouchee and Don Cardwell
1958 – Stan Musial collected career-hit No. 3,000 as a pinch-hitter at Wrigley Field in the sixth inning off Moe Drabowsky in a 6-5 win over the Cubs. Musial became the youngest player to ever reach the milestone and just the eighth player in the history of the game to accomplish the feat.
1957 – Cubs purchased Bobby Morgan from the Phillies
1956 – Cubs sent Gabe Gabler to the Pirates as part of a conditional deal
1953 – Cubs purchased George Freese from the Tigers
1953 – Cubs purchased Dixie Upright from the St. Louis Browns
1949 – Terry Hughes, born
1949 – Cubs released Mort Cooper
1942 – St. Louis Browns purchased Babe Dahlgren from the Cubs
1942 – Braves’ pitcher Jim Tobin became the first modern-day pitcher to hit three home runs in the same game in a 6-5 win over the Cubs.
1928 – Bob Smith, born
1917 – Lou Stringer, born
1910 – Cubs traded Doc Miller to the Boston Doves for Lew Richie