Chicago Cubs’ weekly recap: Javier Baez debuts

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There was plenty to talk about this week within the Cubs organization, but most chatter all came back to the fact Javier Baez had finally arrived in Chicago. The Cubs No. 2 prospect did not disappoint in his first week. Baez went ahead and put his stamp on his first game with a 12th inning game-winning home run. That aside, the Cubs played some baseball this week, a lot of it actually. Let’s take a look at the Cubs this past week.

This Week: 3-3   Season: 50-66, 14 GB –  Fifth in the NL Central

The Good: Javier Baez. It’s been awhile since the Cubs had a prospect come up with this much anticipation and hype. There’s more of these guys on the way, but finally seeing Baez in Chicago had to make you feel like the Cubs are ready to make the turn. Baez hit three home runs in his first series, marking the first time in 60 years since that had happened. Add a game-winner in the 12th of his first game on top of that. There’s a lot of work for Baez to do, but the Cubs and their fans are excited that work will be done in Chicago now.

The Bad: Jake Arrieta‘s outing in Colorado certainly fits the bill. Brutal. Just brutal. Coors Field can take any pitchers stretch of nice games, break him, and bring him back down to earth. It’s just the power that place has. Arrieta surrendered nine runs in five innings. The thin air kept his breaking pitches from doing much more than spinning over the plate, and Rockies hitters didn’t miss. The bright side is if there is ever a place that you can take a bad outing and throw it out as a pitcher, it’s Coors Field.

The Ugly: Happy trails Nate Schierholtz. It turns out last year wasn’t a breakout year; it may have simply been a fluke. Schierholtz just couldn’t get the wheels back on the track. There’s a rumor that the “Mendoza” line may be renamed. I cannot confirm nor deny this. But no matter the case, the Cubs made more space available for the future.

There is speculation that the call-up of Javier Baez while the Cubs were in Colorado was no coincidence. I don’t believe that. But if you want a young hitter, especially with his power, to succeed early on? It’s a good place to start. Tuesday’s opener in Colorado was the unveiling of No. 9. And I think it looks good on him. Baez struggled early on, but took some better cuts, almost picking up his first hit in the seventh on a hard liner to right.

I think it’s safe to say he probably enjoyed his actual first hit better. After having their hands around a possible victory, only to see Hector Rondon let it slip away in the bottom of the 11th, Baez took matters into his own hands in the 12th.

Baez smashed the first pitch into the right field stands. Yes, it’s Colorado. But the kid has amazing bat speed and he’ll have plenty like this one in the future. The Cubs would hold on to win, as Rondon apparently felt like a win instead of a save for the evening.

The Cubs dropped game two, due to the aforementioned Arrieta outing. Chris Coghlan continued his resurgent campaign with three hits, driving him over .300 for the season. And Arismendy Alcantara hit his third home run of the year. After that it was just the Rockies hitting the ball to places the Cubs weren’t. It happened, we’re at peace with it, and Arrieta is ready for his next start.

The series finale was the Cubs “future” game. Kyle Hendricks spun another gem, pitching eight solid innings, and allowed only two runs, lowering his ERA to 2.10. Alcantara added an RBI, as did Castro. The kids got the job done, and gave a small glimpse of what the near future may hold for the Cubs.