The Rundown: Cubs Earn First Sweep, Cease Injured, Heyward Back Saturday
Under normal circumstances, a few wins over the hapless Reds wouldn’t be anything to celebrate. But the World Series champs coming home on the heels of a 2-7 run isn’t really normal. So hanging several crooked numbers and beating their divisional opponents over the course of three beautiful days at Wrigley was incredibly enjoyable. For Cubs fans, anyway.
If nothing else, it was nice to have a few stress-free days, the product of early offensive explosions that saw the Cubs string together hits and drive plenty of balls into the bleachers. Thursday’s finale was over nearly as soon as it started, with the Reds falling victim to Amir Garrett’s wildness and Javy Baez’s bases-loaded magic. The entertaining Cubs infielder came into the game 2-for-13 lifetime with the bases loaded. Guess what both hits were? Yep, grand slams.
So when he stepped to the plate with the bags juiced, one run already in, and a struggling pitcher who was just hoping to locate after issuing three walks in the inning, you know Baez was looking to grip it and rip it. Garrett’s churning slider just hung there up and in and practically begged to be destroyed. And destroy it, Javy did.
Kris Bryant added a beautiful line-drive homer of his own, though no one was on base for him at the time. That’s been kind of a theme this season, as Bryant has frequently led off innings and just isn’t getting the opportunities to make the most of what has been an excellent offensive season so far.
Look at me, somehow turning this into a downer. Best to just save that for Jake Arrieta’s next start.
Cease leaves start early
For more on the specifics, check our post from last night. In a nutshell, Cease struck out four batters but only recorded five outs before twisting his ankle covering third on a grounder. Sounds like just a precautionary issue, no need to worry at this point.
Heyward back Saturday
Dylan Cease’s injury wasn’t the only newsworthy event coming out of South Bend last night. Jason Heyward went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his rehab stint with the South Bend Cubs Thursday, which was apparently enough to prove that he’s ready to return to the active roster.
Jason Heyward just told @OliviaRayWSBT he'll be returning to Chicago tomorrow & will rejoin #Cubs active roster Saturday.
— Pete Byrne (@PeteByrneWSBT) May 19, 2017
Heyward coming off the DL means someone heading down to Iowa, which could signal the end of Ian Happ’s cup of coffee. Or, you know, they could send Pierce Johnson back down. We’ll know more about that when the roster move is official.
Having MLB players rehabbing in the minors is always a treat for the fans in those ballparks, particularly when it’s a big name. I remember walking into Victory Field in Indianapolis just as Nomar Garciaparra was launching a home run for the Pawtucket Red Sox. And then there was the phenomenon of Bo Jackson playing in South Bend when the team was a White Sox affiliate. Talk about hype.
While Heyward isn’t quite on par with either of those players at their respective peaks, he’s still a dude. So good on him for recognizing the deal and signing for some fans before the game.
Jason Heyward greeting fans before the game. #fourwindsfield #SBCubs pic.twitter.com/fTayOAlLpl
— Ortega, Veronica (@vortegaWSBT) May 18, 2017
More news and notes
- The Rays are gauging interest in Alex Cobb, a possible precursor of other moves
- Jake Arrieta is still the third-ranked 2017-18 free agent
- Wade Davis is 10th, giving the Cubs two top-10 pitchers they won’t re-sign
- Darwin Barney is currently the third-ranked free agent-to-be second baseman
- Yes, that Darwin Barney
- How valuable is Javy Baez, relatively speaking?
- Doug Fister signing with Angels
- Freddie Freeman out 10 weeks with fractured wrist
- 19-year-old Cuban Luis Robert becomes eligible to sign this weekend
- The White Sox and Cardinals are front-runners to sign him
- Robert will be the last of the big international signings like this, as the new CBA’s signing period begins July 2