Recapping the Cubs/Nationals series to this point
This series has been full of learning lessons, and fantastic moments of players changing their approaches for the benefit of the team.
Game 1 – 6th inning (Good)
After going a combined 0-4 with 4 K’s, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are up 3rd and 4th in the inning respectively. Baez hits a ground ball to third, and the ball gets booted by Anthony Rendon. Playing small ball, Kyle Hendricks bunts Baez to second.
Kris Bryant comes up to the plate and quickly gets down 0-2. Two foul balls, it was not looking good for Bryant. Yet, Strasburg made a mistake on 0-2, leaving a ball high and over the outside corner. Bryant took an appropriate approach; he extended his arms and flipped the ball into right field in front of Bryce Harper. Making this adjustment showed a moment of growth for Bryant, not going for the long ball and accepting the single.
Rizzo comes up right after Bryant and hits a high and inside pitch in front of Harper. Bryant, getting a good read after Harper’s missed diving play, scored from first, and the Cubs went on to win.
Game 3 – 6th inning
Kyle Schwarber, no one’s ideal outfielder, has a fairly routine fly ball hit his way by Daniel Murphy with two outs. Schwarber doesn’t get to the spot in time because he didn’t get a great read off the ball. He drifted through the end of the play, which means that his glove was up in front of his face to try and unable to accurately see the ball.
Hence he drops the ball off the bottom of his glove. He then compounds the error by performing one of the top “no-no’s.” As the ball is almost at a stop, and Schwarber attempts to pick the ball up with his glove. This shoots the ball away from him and allows Murphy to get to third. The Chicago Cubs were able to survive the errors and win the game.
However, the lesson here is for young outfielders. Don’t drift to the ball. Get in a position to catch the ball and then bring your glove up. If the ball is on the ground and not moving, then grab it with your bare hand. It’ll be quicker to throw the ball and reduce the number of errors you have.
It’s important to learn things from every game. The Cubs are showing a maturity and knowledge of how to win this postseason that comes from multiple years of being together as a team and playing a lot of games. Picking up a teammate who makes mistakes is huge, and scoring runs when you’ve got the opportunity is huge. Rizzo is currently 4-4 with RISP in the series. That defines a great player. Setting the tone for the team and being clutch.