Cubs

Cubs understand there's still a growing process with Javy Baez despite playoff breakout

Cubs

Javy Baez swung and missed, unable to catch up to a 94 mph Cody Allen fastball above the hands, sending Cubs fans to the streets of Wrigleyville with a bad taste in their mouths.

Baez struck out with runners on second and third despite Allen throwing only one pitch in the strike zone throughout the at-bat.

It was Baez's fifth strikeout in 13 World Series at-bats as he expanded the strike zone, admitting after the game he was over-anxious.

He wasn't the only one.

The Cubs were swinging at pitches out of the strike zone all night, dropping a heartbreaker 1-0 to the Cleveland Indians in the first World Series game Wrigley Field has seen since 1945.

Joe Maddon sent a message to his team after the Game 3 loss, urging his guys to re-organize the strike zone and get back to their approach.

Baez acknowledged he was trying to do too much up at the plate instead of keeping the same approach that led him to a .342 average and .892 OPS in the first 10 games of the postseason.

"First of all, I love the fact that he's honest about it," Maddon said. "I really dig that. That's how you get better - the accountability component. 

"He just needs repetition. He's been good. Look what he did in San Francisco. Look what he did against the Dodgers. He's been really good in the postseason. He won an award."

 

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For the co-NLCS MVP and the guy who drove in seven runs in the NLDS and NLCS, the 23-year-old Baez has started to show his age in the World Series.

Maddon bumped Baez down to eighth in the order for Game 4 Saturday against Corey Kluber and believes Baez will right the ship.

"What that requires more than anything is just talking to him," Maddon said. "Having him getting back to the approach that made him so successful for the last two series in the latter part of the season. That's it.

"There's no more work to do. There's no more information, data, all the stuff that everybody wants you to really inundate yourself with. 

"It's just a mindset. It's controlling your emotions. It's controlling your mind. It's having the right plan in place. It's being self-aware."

Maddon kept coming back to the fact Baez admitted his struggles in talking with the media late Friday night.

"Listen, I love this guy," Maddon said. "We all do. He's spectacular. He's going to keep getting better, but I love the accountability component from him."