For as good as Kris Bryant was during his Rookie of the Year campaign, Bryant was a different hitter outside of Wrigley Field.
Bryant batted .275/.369/.488 with 31 doubles, five triples and 26 home runs for a .858 OPS last season. At Wrigley, Bryant hit .311/.408/.629 with 14 doubles, four triples and 21 home runs for a 1.037 OPS. On the road, just .243/.333/.360 with 17 doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .693 OPS.
Bryant had one of the best games of his career on Thursday night that was lost in Jake Arrieta’s second no-hitter. Bryant went 4-for-6 with two home runs, four runs scored and six RBI. Bryant hit his third career Grand Slam and finished the game with 10 total bases.
Bryant has at least one hit in five of the Cubs last six games.
In 12 road games on the young season, Bryant is 15-for-54 with four doubles and two home runs. And he’s hit slightly better outside of Wrigley in twice the amount of games. Bryant has a .278/.316/.463 line with a .779 OPS.
It’s a small sample size. The baseball season is four weeks old Monday. With the way he struggled on the road last year, it can only be seen as a positive the way Bryant has hit on the current road trip.
Saturday’s Post-Game Reports
The Cubs had one of those games on Saturday night. The offense could not make up for the poor outing from John Lackey or outhit the mistakes from the relievers. Unfortunately, odds are there will be more games like the one at Great American Ball Park this season.
John Lackey was not happy with the way he pitched. Lackey thinks he may have thrown too many strikes. Lackey had two-strike counts on four of the seven hits he allowed. Lackey indicated he needs to make batters a little uncomfortable in the box.
Joe Maddon always looks for positives from a loss. He said at least his relievers got some work in.
Here are the post-game reports from Saturday:
- CCO Recap – One of Those Games
- ESPN Chicago – Cubs get it all out of their system in bad loss to Reds
- ESPN Chicago – John Lackey not happy throwing a lot of strikes
- Comcast SportsNet – Reds hit back as Cubs get crushed in Cincinnati
- The Sun-Times – Reds rise up with home run barrage in sixth, seventh to rout Cubs 13-5
- The Tribune – Cubs’ John Lackey hints of changes in next start
- The Tribune – Cubs find work for relievers … after John Lackey can’t finish sixth inning in loss
Javier Baez was back at third base on Saturday night after going 2-for-4 with a home run, a stolen base and three runs scored playing third on Friday night. Baez was very good at the hot corner and came very close to starting a 5-4-3 triple play. The Cubs settled for a 5-4 double play.
Baez did not have the same success at the plate Saturday that he did Friday. Baez was 0-for-5 with a strikeout and left three men on base.
Maddon thought Baez was a good fit defensively at third base with John Lackey on the mound. ESPN Chicago pointed out that Maddon likely preferred Kris Bryant in left field over Jorge Soler due to the fly balls that Lackey has given up this season. With Bryant in left, Baez stepped in at third base.
And on a side note, the homer Baez lined over the left field wall on Friday night had an exit velocity of 108.4 mph, which is the hardest ball hit off Reds reliever J.J. Hoover this season. Baez’s blast would have been the second hardest ball hit off Hoover last season.
The Cubs did not take batting practice again Saturday. According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs will not take BP on Sunday.
Joe Maddon thinks batting practice is overrated and doesn’t believe it is necessary every day. Maddon believes players can actually wear themselves out with too much BP. Working in a batting cage with coaches is different from on-field batting practice.
ESPN Chicago reported there was a side discussion in Maddon’s office after Friday’s game about batting practice. And Jesse Rogers is “not sure if the Cubs will ever take BP again, doing fine without it.”
News and Notes
• The Cubs have the second highest OBP in baseball. After 18 games, the Cubs on-base percentage is .352 same as the Cardinals (.352) but 23 points less than the Pirates (.375). The Cubs lead baseball in walks (93).
• Jon Lester surrendered one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in seven innings on Friday night. Lester posted his fourth straight quality start, the second time in his career he opened a season with four starts. Lester had four quality starts with the Red Sox to begin the 2014 season.
• Over 334,000 homes in the Chicago market (9.6 rating at 9:00pm) were watching Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter on Thursday night.
• Prior to Saturday’s loss against the Reds, the Cubs pitching staff allowed 103 hits through the first 17 games of the season, the fewest hits allowed by a Cubs team in 17 games since 1908 (100).
• Iowa Cubs’ skipper Marty Pevey moved past Jim Napier to third on the franchise’s all-time wins list on Friday night. Pevey posted win No. 226 in the I-Cubs 5-0 victory over New Orleans.
• LHP James Russell cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.
• The Blue Jays signed OF Michael Bourn to a minor league contract.
• Randal Grichuk said the catch he made robbing Anthony Rizzo of a two-run homer in Wednesday finale with the Cubs was the greatest of his career. And the outfielder believes the Cardinals are just as good if not better than the Cubs.
This Day in Cubstory
2010 – Ted Lilly pitched six scoreless innings in his first start of the year following off-season shoulder surgery. The Cubs beat the Brewers 5-1 in Carlos Zambrano’s first game in the bullpen
1991 – Cubs traded Dean Wilkins to the Astros for Jeff Baldwin
1987 – Welington Castillo, born
1974 – Will Cunnane, born
1962 – Sandy Koufax struck out 18 batters in a 10-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Dodgers’ southpaw tied the All-Time mark of 18 strikeouts in a single game set by Bob Feller.
1958 – Lee Walls hit three home runs and drove in eight runs in the Cubs 15-2 victory over the Dodgers at the Coliseum. Cubs’ pitcher Gene Fodge picked up his only big league victory.
1958 – Herman Segelke, born
1957 – Three Cubs pitchers walked nine batters in the fifth inning of a 9-5 loss to the Reds at Crosley Field. Moe Drabowsky started the fifth and walked four, Jackie Collum walked three more and Jim Brosnan issued two more free passes to set a National League record.
1936 – Glen Hobbie, born
1931 – Player/Manager Rogers Hornsby hit three home runs in three consecutive at bats and drove in eight runs in a 10-6 Cubs win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
1929 – Cubs signed free agent Johnny Schulte
1896 – Ken Penner, born
1889 – White Stockings released Mark Baldwin, Tom Daly, Bob Pettit and Marty Sullivan