Chicago Cubs pick up Kyle Schwarber after critical fielding error

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: Kyle Schwarber
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: Kyle Schwarber /

Sometimes things just work out. That ended up being the case for Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who made a cringeworthy error in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals.

In its history, the Chicago Cubs have demonstrated a certain proclivity for making crucial errors in the playoffs. Even as they’ve made the transition from “lovable losers” to World Series champions, this remains a vexing part of their identity.

On Monday, Kyle Schwarber made an epic blunder in left field, which ultimately led to the Washington Nationals taking a late one-run lead. This one was a doozy. Schwarber managed to make two fielding errors on one play before finally getting the ball in.

With two outs in the sixth, the 24-year-old muffed a Daniel Murphy fly ball, and then, after bouncing off the corner outfield wall, proceeded to kick the ball away. This allowed Murphy to reach third, and then eventually score later in the inning.

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Kyle gets by with a little help from his friends

Though it initially felt like impending doom for the Chicago Cubs, the bigger story here is how the team managed to overcome it and boost Schwarber’s morale in the process.

The very next inning, second baseman Ben Zobrist gave the Cubs their first hit of the game by ripping a one-out double into left center. Due up next was Kyle Schwarber. But Max Scherzer was lifted after Zobrist’s double, and as a response the Cubs opted to pinch-hit Albert Almora for Schwarber. His shot at redemption would have to wait. But he wouldn’t need to hang his head much longer.

Almora delivered in a big way, lacing a single into left center to score Zobrist, tying things up for the Cubs. The next inning, the Cubs got all they needed to win in the form of an Anthony Rizzo RBI bloop single. Respect him, Washington.

Schwarber was quick to address his error after the game:

"It’s my fault. The ball should’ve been caught. For us to come back like that, that speaks volumes about this team. We’re not going to give up and we have each other’s backs."

Changing the narrative

There’s a level of camaraderie on this team that was simply not there on Cubs teams of the past. It’s one thing to show up for work, put on a happy face and tolerate your teammates, but this bunch seems to click in a special way. It makes a huge difference. They play not just for themselves and the fans, but for their fellow teammates. As Schwarber stated after the game, these guys “have each other’s backs.”

That phrase may seem tired and cliche, but it can make all the difference for a player’s psyche. For a franchise that had not won a championship in over a century, the Cubs play with a remarkable amount of patience, seemingly free of the immense pressure to win. And that approach continues to serve them well.

Next: What to expect from Jake Arrieta in Game 4

Schwarber’s error was typical of the gaffes that have plagued the Cubs for the entirety of their existence. But it’s now a thing of the past. Had the Cubs lost that game, it could have been the defining moment of the series. Now it can be looked back on with general amusement. Because let’s be honest, it was kind of funny.

In the face of adversity, this squad finds a way. Remember last year when the Cubs won the World Series after trailing the series 3-1? That happened. People forget that.