Something truly remarkable happened in the top the third inning in the Cubs-Pirates game on Tuesday. Cody Ponce, the young pitcher for Pittsburgh got ahead of Javier Baez, 0-2 and then he went to work. The next pitch was high and out of the strike zone, the one after that low and out, then another pitch high, and finally a pitch that was well outside.
Ball four? Ball four! Baez didn’t offer on any of them! To be fair, it took a mighty checked-swing on the first of the four balls but still, he’s down 0-2 and he walks?
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Cubs: Alert the media!! Stop the presses!
This unusual occurrence could be the best news we’ve had in a while, and that is saying something. With a 13-7 record and a series win over the Cards, May has been a month full of good news, but this is truly huge.
One of the most significant issues in the early games that the Cubs dropped was Baez swinging at bad pitches. Now you must realize, the two-time All-Star is perhaps the best ‘bad ball’ hitter in the game. You only have to witness his golf shot homer against these same Pirates in an earlier game to gather that.
Is this the new El Mago?
But for Baez, who is notoriously hard to walk, to take four straight bad pitches and not swing at one is encouraging. The team needs their players to take a walk when one is being offered, even Baez.
Don’t worry that Baez letting four pitches go by without swinging once might signal that the world is ending, in the next at bat, Baez took an inside pitch, two ball widths below the zone, lined it into left and then hustled out a double when the left fielder loafed. Javy being Javy!
Of course that legged-out double allowed him to score on Rizzo’s shift-beating single. Chicago took the lead because of that same old Javy!