For the series finale, while starter Jose Quintana probably threw way too many pitches to come anywhere close to Kerry Wood‘s shared strikeout record, he at least weathered an early storm with a quality start to allow the Cubs to work their magic to sweep the Pirates. The game was also full of great plays and a few historically significant feats, a day after Wade Davis set the franchise records for consecutive saves converted. That didn’t even include a couple of splendid catches by Jon Jay, and a solid RBI hit by Quintana. BUT! Jon Jay actually got a hit as a lefty batter against Pirates closer Felipe Rivero, the first since like April or something. That was one of 20 hits, the most by a Cubs team in a game since 2014, and the run total matched the season high they set in Philadelphia.
To begin, we have the daily Javier Baez highlight, where he decided he’d just go ahead and tie the game himself by stealing his way around the bases, including home plate:
Javier Báez: 1st Cubs player to steal home (reg season) since Starlin Castro in 2010.
Báez also stole home in Game 1 of the 2016 NLCS. pic.twitter.com/Y9BpotpNCi
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 31, 2017
It’s going to be tough to keep Javy out of the lineup, although he seriously needs a rest after manning shortstop for so long with Addison Russell sidelined (Ben Zobrist played short in the ninth inning to give Javy a breather). But Javy is quickly becoming must-see baseball.
Later on in the game, Ian Happ set a record for the Cubs and MLB to boot:
Ian Happ: 6th #Cubs player to reach 20 HR this season.
First time in franchise history with 6 players with 20+ HR
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 31, 2017
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 31, 2017
Juiced baseballs or not, having that much major power throughout the lineup is serious business, and we as Cubs fans should feel lucky that the power is playing for the North Side. It’s also great to see Happ making some adjustments after an inevitable mid-season struggle that we kind of expect from young players. Almost had a cycle, too…
So here's the plan:
1. Run to third.
2. Act natural.
— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017
He’s good. So is his now-frequent interview buddy, Kyle Schwarber…
With that 2-run shot by Schwarber, every Cubs starter (including Q) not only has a hit, but has scored a run as well. 15-3 Cubs.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 31, 2017
— MBDChicago (@MBDChicago) August 31, 2017
The Cubs will get some reinforcements by way of guys coming back from the disabled list in September, as well as some call-ups from Iowa. With a comfortable 3.5 game lead in the National League Central, let’s hope they finally turned it on at the right time of year and keep it going until Halloween.