We now return to our regularly schedule Javier Baez programming, already in progress...
The Cubs had three rookies in the starting lineup when they faced the Rockies on Thursday afternoon, and that's really all they needed to cruise to a 6-2 series-clinching win.
Arismendy Alcantara started things off in the 2nd inning, singling home Justin Ruggiano before one of the other rookies, his name escapes me, drove Chris Valaika home in the 3rd with a single of his own. All the while, Kyle Hendricks was cruising, getting in front of Rockies hitters and avoiding free passes.
Hendricks might not throw hard, but he works fast. He doesn't dawdle on the mound and he doesn't try to get cute. For my money, I'll take a guy who knows how to pitch over one with million dollar stuff and a ten-cent head any day of the week. And I'll certainly take 3-1
But let's be honest, there's really only one player everyone's going to be talking about: Javier Freaking Baez. In case you're wondering, I'm starting a petition to have him drop the "Ednel," move "Javier" to the front and insert "Freaking." I think it'll play.
I was listening to the game when the first #JavyBomb dropped, though Pat Hughes' trepidation as to the ball's fairness prevented him from being all that excited. Nevertheless, he and Ron Coomer used some superlatives in their description of the blast.
For what it's worth, Starlin Castro's encore shot received more fanfare on the radio call.
But upon getting home and seeing a replay, I realized that Pat's subdued call may have resulted from an inability to see the ball at all. Rather than make a home run call as he tracked the flight of the hit, I think Pat was forced to improvise. No sooner had the ball left Javy's bat than it was landing well beyond the leftfield fence.
Outside of the existence of a wormhole somewhere in the mountain air, I am at a loss to explain how a baseball could travel that far that fast. Javy swung, the ball was launched up into the sky, and then it landed. Pretty simple when you think about it that way.
And perhaps the existence of an anomaly of space and time is apropos, because to watch the act take place, to witness the violent explosion of sinew and ash, is to see into the future. One can imagine what will happen as Baez continues to mature as a baseball player. Good for Cubs fans, bad for opposing pitchers.
But Javy was content with just one. No, he was quick to go back to the future with a sequel in the 8th, an absolute laser to right center that failed to achieve the rain-making height of his first two, but was impressive in its Spartan effectiveness. At first the ball didn't appear to have the distance, but then you saw it bouncing around in the bullpen.
Baez entered the majors a walking hyperbole and has only fueled the hype machine in his three games thus far. Now he and his fellow youngsters are paving the way forward for the Cubs, taking fans someplace most of them have never been. Roads? Where we're going...we don't need roads.
Soon enough, we'll get to see what guys like Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant can do too, but for now we can all hold hands and sing "Feliz Javydad." Or perhaps you'd prefer "Javy Nagila." But no matter how you celebrate, it's great to be able to get excited about Cubs baseball again.
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