I was in Kansas City this past weekend on my annual ballpark tour, and let me tell you, Kauffman Stadium is amazing. So far, this is my favorite ballpark that I have visited (not counting Wrigley Field), though there are still plenty more to go to. I highly recommend visiting if you ever have the opportunity.
Even though I was in KC, and taking the weekend off of my beloved Chicago Cubs, I kept an eye on what was going on with my team. I was disappointed to see the Cubs lose the first two games, because even though this team was built to lose, losing sucks and I hate losing. What bothered me the most was the amount of strikeouts the Cubs had. Over the weekend, the Cubs had 44 strikeouts, compared to I believe two walks. That has got to change if this team ever wants to be seen as a legitimate contender. However, even with all those strike outs, the last strike out of the series was the one that drew my attention.
Javier Baez strikes out for the 12th time in his first six games, but reaches first base on a drop third strike. This is followed by Anthony Rizzo connecting for a winning walk off single, but is Rizzo the one that gets all the attention? According to Comcast Sports Net, Rizzo’s walkoff hit is secondary to the Baez show. The headline says everything, “Javier Baez strikeout helps Cubs walk off to victory over Rays.”
I understand that Baez is the new shiny toy for Cub fans to play with, and that he is one of the centerpieces of what is supposed to be the future of the Cubs, and their title hopes lie with him and what he can do, but that headline is a disgrace. Baez struck out, Rizzo delivers the game winning hit and he is the hero, not Baez. In fact, I would say that Curt Casali is more to thank than Baez for winning the game.
If Casali had of caught the ball, there are two outs, Ryan Sweeney is still on second base. Rizzo’s hit to the wall still score’s Sweeney. Or if Casali throws out Baez after dropping the third strike, Sweeney is still on third and still scores on Rizzo’s hit. I know that the situational pitching changes, Rizzo might have been pitched differently if first base was open, might even have been walked in favor of Starlin Castro, or maybe not. Either way, Baez striking out again was not the greatest factor for the Cubs winning that game. If he had made contact with the ball, then sure, praise him for another game winning RBI, but a strike out? Seriously? Even an infield single would be more deserving, but a strike out? Come on man.
I am thrilled to death that Baez is up with the Cubs learning how to play in the Major Leagues facing real competition, but there is something sad about praising a guy, giving him credit for a win for failing. He struck out, the catcher screws the pooch by dropping the ball and Baez gets the credit over the man who actually wins the game.
The Cubs are more than just Baez, no matter how excited fans are to see him. Just because he is involved in a series of plays that lead to the winning run does not mean he deserves all the credit. Yesterday’s game comes down to Rizzo, not Baez. Even though Baez did have an RBI early in the game, he had very little to do with the winning run. Give credit where credit is due, and in yesterday’s game the winner came from Rizzo.