When Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Matt Szczur found out that he didn’t have a roster spot for the first two rounds, the last thing he thought he’d be doing is talking to reporters.
Like teammate Kyle Schwarber, Szczur figured he’d be another dugout-cheerleader. Now, he’s taken on a more important role: slump-busting. It has been huge for the Chicago Cubs over the past few days.
After starting the postseason on a 2-for-26 skid, Anthony Rizzo switched bats, hauling Szczur’s lumber to the plate to face Pedro Baez in Game 4. He proceeded to crush a full count fastball to dead center for a solo home run.
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Later in the sixth inning, Rizzo keyed a five-run inning for Chicago by singling in the first two runs.
“I hit well with [Szczur’s] bat, so he has hits in it. Same size, just a different model and different name, and it worked.” Rizzo told reporters.
Szczur was surprised to learn that Rizzo mentioned the switch on the national broadcast. Typically, reporters don’t talk to cheerleaders, especially one’s from the visiting clubhouse.
Doing Whatever You Can
But, like the true teammate he is, Szczur isn’t worried about compensation. He’s just glad he can contribute to bringing back the Cubs offense.
“He doesn’t owe me anything,” Szczur said. “Tony’s picked me up at dinner quite a few times.” In the past two games, Rizzo is batting .500 with two XBH and four RBI.
As the Chicago Tribune reported, bats aren’t the only thing Szczur’s been lending to his teammates.
Check underwear off the list as well.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was also struggling at the plate until Wednesday night. He ended a 1-for-24 slide when he grabbed a pair of Szczur’s leggings prior to the game. Since, Russell has collected five hits, two of which were home runs.
“People broke out of their slumps and it just so happened to be with my stuff. I feel like a lot of things happen for a reason,” Szczur told reporters.
The Cubs haven’t pillaged Szczur’s locker for good luck charms just yet, but his stuff has begun to take on a Pedro Cerrano type mysticism.
That doesn’t mean the day isn’t looming when Szczur shows up to find his locker emptied.
“Zobi (Ben Zobrist) was like, ‘Hey, Szcz, what do you got for me?’” Szczur said.