Now that the drama of Kris Bryant‘s debut is gone – he can settle in now and just play
Let’s take a realistic and honest approach to reviewing Kris Bryant’s first game. If you didn’t watch the game and only looked at the box score then you’re going to get the wrong story. The box score will read a 0-for-4 game with three strike outs and five runners left on base. It doesn’t tell you that he played a flawless third base defensively – making several nice plays and converting two double plays.
All the concerns about how he’d play at third base were forgotten; at least for today. He looked very calm and comfortable with the glove today. The same can’t be said at the plate from what I saw.
He came to the plate the first time with a grand entrance – standing ovation from everyone in the crowd, including Chicago Cubs Team President Tom Ricketts, his agent Scott Boras, and his father. Of course he wants to go up there with a runner on and smash a first pitch over the wall. As I expected he gave a first swing that would have cut down a tree but tipped it foul. Then he took the next two pitches swinging as well going down on three straight pitches.
He didn’t have the best pitches to hit and he was up there against a seasoned veteran in James Shields. Shields first pitch was an 89 mph cutter, followed by two 86 mph change-ups. They were good pitches – at least he went down swinging.
Expectations are set sky-high for this kid – he earned those expectations with his performance on every level he’s played. It’s almost like he’s never experienced failure before but he has. Bryant has had a couple other debuts that didn’t go his way like his Class A Short Season start with the Boise Hawks where he went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts.
Was an 0-for-4 outing with three strikeouts what we wanted? Of course not – we wanted what we saw in spring and what he did his last few games in Iowa but this isn’t Hollywood and we don’t always have those storybook endings. But do not forget that this is just the first page in the book of Kris Bryant’s career.
This kid is legit – you don’t do what he’s done at every level and then all of a sudden lose it with the call up. Now that the hoopla of the first game is gone and behind him and can relax and just play the game.