Cubs getting a spark from Dansby Swanson they haven't seen in years
By Jake Misener
Watching the Cubs nickel-and-dime their way to a blowout win on Saturday was particularly exciting because, in years past, when Chicago trounced an opponent, it usually meant the ball was flying into the bleachers on a near-every inning basis.
Despite hanging a 10-spot on the Texas Rangers, though, only Patrick Wisdom and Yan Gomes homered for the Cubs. Instead, the team took advantage of five Texas errors and racked up 14 base hits en route to the victory at Wrigley Field. You'd have liked to have seen some more walks in there (just two on the afternoon), but you'll take the end result regardless.
Dansby Swanson continues to leave it all on the field for the Cubs
The play of the game, though, belongs to the Cubs' new frontman, Dansby Swanson. With Chicago already up 7-2 in the bottom of the eighth with the bags full and two outs, Ian Happ laced a first-pitch offering from Dane Dunning back up the middle past a diving Marcus Semien.
It felt like a nice piece of hitting: a run-of-the-mill two-run single to blow the game open. But after center fielder Adolis Garcia made a lazy throw back that short-hopped its way to Corey Seager at second, Swanson took off, sliding in ahead of a throw home, scoring all the way from first on the play and sending Wrigley into a frenzy.
That level of baseball IQ and hustle would be impressive on its own. But when you take into account the fact he watched his wife, Mallory Swanson, suffer what appears to be a major knee injury in her soccer match on TV prior to the game and not only was still in the lineup, but was at the center of a win - it's even more telling about the type of player and person he is.
"He loves this stuff, he loves being out here, he loves competing. Pretty impressive for him today to be able to do what he did. We were all watching the game earlier. Pretty somber (mood). For him to be able to do that and show that kind of emotion ... We’re feeling for him and his family. "- Ian Happ, via Chicago Tribune
Entering Sunday's finale against the Rangers, Swanson was batting .429 with a 174 OPS+ and already boasted a trio of three-hit games. While that alone bodes well for the new Cubs superstar, the fact he's setting the tone, taking extra bases and working at-bats every time he's out there sends a clear message to the rest of the clubhouse and the fanbase alike: it's a new era on the North Side, one that will be marked by scrappy, heads up play and a 'never quit' mentality.