With the Chicago Cubs still trailing the San Diego Padres 8-7 in the eighth inning on Tuesday night, Jason Heyward strolled to the plate to face Padres right-hander Andres Munoz.
On paper, this was not a good matchup. The Chicago Cubs Jason Heyward has typically struggled against power pitchers, and Andres Munoz had dominated opposing hitters with a lively fastball since being called up in July. The matchup seemed even less likely to yield anything positive for the Cubs given Heyward’s horrific August.
Heyward hit over .300 in both June and July, but he posted a paltry slash line of .156/.276/.311 last month. His ground ball percentage skyrocketed to 57 percent while his line drive percentage plummeted to just 13 percent.
But with the Cubs needing another big swing of the bat after Bryant had homered off of Munoz to cut San Diego’s lead to one, Heyward did not disappoint. He turned around on a fastball and launched it over the centerfield wall to tie the game.
In case you have not noticed, Heyward is showing signs of busting out of his slump. After going 1-for-32 over a nine-game span at the end of August and beginning of September, Heyward has tallied six hits, three homers–two on Tuesday night–and six RBI in his last three games.
Most of the focus is going to be on Kris Bryant‘s health (though he looked just fine after hitting a pair of homers on Wednesday as well). And the absence of Javier Baez heading into the home stretch. However, Heyward could be the X-factor in this Cubs lineup as Chicago looks to make up ground in the National League Central.