Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant will be a key player as NLDS returns to Wrigley


With the final game of this weekend’s National League Division Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs going to the North Siders, Jake Arrieta and company will head back to Wrigley Field with the opportunity of taking a 2-1 series lead.

Tonight, outfielder Jorge Soler picked up the start in right field and helped the Cubs even things up with a couple of walks, a double, and a two-run homer in the 6-3 win.

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Chicago had multiple chances to add onto their lead early in the game, but just like the regular season, they failed to do so. One man who had several at-bats with runners in scoring position was the soon-to-be N.L. Rookie of the Year, Kris Bryant.

Bryant, who led the league with 199 strikeouts, hasn’t contributed in the batter’s box despite making the starting lineup in all three of Chicago’s road playoff games against Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

In 11 at-bats, the 23-year-old slugger is 0-for-11 with one walk, four strikeouts, while leaving 10 men stranded. This is something that needs to be addressed during tomorrow’s off-day, but could be quickly forgotten once he takes the field Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. central time.

The fact is, we all know how quiet Bryant’s bat has been on the road since he debuted with the Cubs back in late April.

While away from Wrigley Field, Kris has managed to record only five home runs, 40 RBI, one triple, 17 doubles, and 71 hits with a batting line of .243/.333/.360 through 292 at-bats.

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Those numbers listed above don’t even come close to his home numbers as he’s crushed 21 big flies, 59 RBI, four triples, 14 doubles, on top of 83 total hits while slashing .311/.408/.629 and an OPS of 1.037 through 267 at-bats.

Now, that’s more like it. There’s no doubt that he loves hitting in front of the Wrigleyville Faithful which will become a problem for Mike Matheny and the St. Louis Cardinals who know how tough it is to win in Chicago.

Especially this time around.

With Jon Lester possibly taking Tuesday’s start, Joe Maddon will more than likely have Miguel Montero behind the dish to catch his potential N.L. Cy Young winner.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe decides to keep Bryant at third while placing Kyle Schwaber in left and giving Jorge Soler another start in right field with Michael Wacha starting opposite Arrieta on Monday.

Soler is currently batting .400 in his short career against Wacha with a home run and an RBI. Bryant has a .300 average with one dinger and three runs batter in off the veteran right-hander.

Next: Cubs even NLDS at 1-1 as series moves to Wrigley