Javy Baez is putting up exceptional numbers again. Kris Bryant regained his MVP form. Anthony Rizzo remains Mr. Consistency. Willson Contreras is still a 2-way force. Yu Darvish is stepping up big time. But perhaps the most satisfying individual story this season has been the offensive resurgence of Jason Heyward.
J-Hey is hitting .277 with 15 HR and 44 RBI…many of them extremely clutch. His swing looks so smooth and comfortable, going the other way with authority. His defense has always been the best in the league, even when he shifts to center. Appears he’ll be doing that a lot for the last two months of 2019. Nick Castellanos will man RF a great deal of the time after the Jed & Theo got him from the Tigers for 2 minor league pitchers. Castellanos demolishes lefty pitching, and should be a real asset for the stretch. He recently complained about Comerica Park turning his home runs into doubles (37 two-baggers with Detroit) – so Nick might enjoy his long drives finding the bleachers at Wrigley.
NBC Sports’ Kelly Crull caught up with Heyward before last night’s loss to the Cardinals to hear his thoughts on the Cubs getting Castellanos, as well as 2nd baseman Tony Kemp from Houston. J-Hey compared it to a video game lineup, ridiculously packed with talent. Then, rational as always, went on to urge fans to let things play out the rest of the year and not worry so much. Heyward clearly believes this team is the best in the Central and that the cream will rise by season’s end. Must be nice to have that dude in your clubhouse, keeping everyone cool. That’s how you settle players down for the 10th inning of a Game 7. I wanted to go online and buy a Heyward jersey after hearing his simple explanation of the ebbs and flows of baseball. So happy for him that he’s having a great individual season. I guarantee, however, he’s more pleased that the team is battling for 1st. Hate to reference Aaron Rodgers on the cusp of Bears season, but it kind of reminded me of Rodgers’ famous “RELAX” quote.
Brewers at Cubs at 1:20. Castellanos in the 2-hole again for his first home at-bats at the Friendly Confines. Oh, and Cole Hamels is pitching on Saturday. So we got that going for us. Which is nice. Let’s get one. Go Cubs Go.