Cubs: David Bote looks to turn the corner after a three-hit breakout

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

You know things haven’t been going your way when a three-hit ballgame raises your average to .187. But that’s the situation Chicago Cubs infielder David Bote finds himself in coming off Tuesday afternoon’s blowout win over the Dodgers.

Bote paced the Chicago offense, notching three hits – including a bases-clearing RBI double in the first against Clayton Kershaw. The early onslaught chased the Los Angeles veteran from the game after that fateful frame, making it the shortest regular season start of his big league career.

"“I thought it was just being ready to attack when you see strikes,” David Ross told after the victory. “I think it was just commanding the strike zone, taking our walks, seeing something in the spots where we want to attack and letting it rip. I thought we did a really good job of that.”"

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The Cubs mustered just six hits in the win but went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position and drew a trio of walks. After plating four in the first, Chicago added two more in the third and one in the sixth en route to a 7-1 win. But it was Bote who set the tone – and with Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner sidelined, his performance couldn’t have come at a better time.

Cubs need David Bote to get going

Despite his lackluster numbers, Bote has been barreling the ball up regularly, ranking in the top 13 percent of the league in that measure. In his career, he’s never barreled up pitches like he has thus far in the 2021 campaign.

As has been the case, though, he’s been much stronger against fastballs than breaking or offspeed stuff – and he’ll need to improve in that area if he hopes to build on Thursday’s effort.

It’s been a lot of feast or famine for the infielder. While his barrel rate, as I mentioned, is at an all-time high, he’s also turning in a ton of weak contact, as well – nearly four times as much as last year. For Bote to be successful, he’s got to drive the ball more. Hitting the ball on the ground as often as he is won’t lead to much success.

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He’ll have a prime opportunity with Hoerner on the IL. But if he fails to get it going, you can count on him being relegated to a bench role once the team’s young second baseman returns given how hot he’s been since re-joining the team. Let’s hope Thursday was just the start of a hot streak for Bote.