SAN DIEGO — Mike Bryant may command a little more respect from Kris at the Thanksgiving table this year.
Turns out it was dad’s advice that led to Bryant’s first-inning home run at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Petco Park. Before the game, Mike Bryant told his son to look for a first-pitch fastball from Chris Sale in the first inning.
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Though he originally planned to take a pitch, Bryant changed his mind. The switch resulted in the Cubs third baseman ripping a 96-mph inside fastball from Sale for a solo homer. In doing so, Bryant (24 years, 190 days) became the youngest player to homer in the All-Star Game since David Wright (23, 203) in 2006 at Pittsburgh.
“He said ‘First-pitch fastball, be ready for it,’ ” Bryant said. “It’s like, ‘No dad, I’m going to take the first pitch.’ Obviously I should listen to my dad more.”
ST. LOUIS — This is not what the Cubs wanted to see.
The Cubs entered play Sunday night having gone 24-12 since getting swept out of St. Louis in the first weekend of May.
They were feeling good about themselves, starting to get their mojo back and playing more like the team everybody expected.
And then Javy Baez took a 90 mph fastball off the left elbow Sunday night.
In the third inning of the series finale against the Cardinals as the Cubs looked for a sweep, Jack Flaherty hit Baez with a two-seam fastball. It forced the Cubs infielder to jump around in pain and then collapse to the grass about 15 feet away from home plate as Cubs trainers looked at him.
After a couple minute delay, Baez was led off the field and Addison Russell came in off the bench to replace him at first base.
During the broadcast, Joe Maddon apparently told the ESPN broadcast Baez's hand went numb, but the Cubs don't believe it's anything serious:
The 25-year-old was in the midst of a breakout season for the Cubs, sitting 5th in the National League with 46 RBI and on pace for a near 30-30 seaosn (33 homers, 29 stolen bases).
He had slowed a bit (.175 average, .502 OPS in June) but still gives the Cubs so much energy and versatility on a daily basis with his ability to move around the infield and lineup.
If the Cubs are going to be without Baez for any length of time, it could be a huge blow to a team that was just hitting its stride.
ST. LOUIS — The game was over and Yadier Molina knew it.
As Ian Happ turned on Sam Tuivailala's two-strike pitch in the 7th inning, Molina crumbled to the ground in defeat.
Happ's two-out double gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead they did not relinquish in a 6-3 victory Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs had to claw back all night against the Cardinals, fighting to tie the game at two separate spots before Happ's breakthrough off Tuivailala.
Molina couldn't contain his disappointment:
Molina is a common target of ire from Cubs fans in the heated rivalry with the Cardinals, so you can bet his #SadFace led to some glee in the Chicago fanbase (just look at the comments on that Tweet):
The 35-year-old catcher just returned recently from a nearly month-long stint on the disabled list when he took a foul tip off a Kris Bryant swing to the groin on Jordan Hicks' 102 mph pitch the last time the Cubs were in town.
Molina has drawn 3 walks and has a single in this weekend's series with the Cubs, but he also committed a miscue in Friday's game, when he threw wild to first base on Jon Lester's squeeze bunt.
The Cubs are now 24-12 since they were swept in St. Louis on the first weekend of May.