Just about the time the Cubs’ power starts to look like a figment of its recent, storied past, Patrick Wisdom shows up to remind anyone watching why he got Rookie of the Year votes for four months of work last year.
Wisdom, who broke the Cubs’ rookie record for homers last year (28), belted a two-run shot in the 10th to put away a 6-3 victory Wednesday in Atlanta in the Cubs’ first extra-inning game of the season.
“We’ve got a fun lineup,” Wisdom said during the recent homestand when asked about the difference in a lineup this year that entered the game with just 14 homers (ninth in the NL) but that led the majors in hitting (.266), on-base percentage (.346) and OPS (.758).
“Everyone has a unique skill set, and everyone brings something to the table,” he said, “and that makes us dangerous.”
Few Cubs this side of Seiya Suzuki have been as dangerous as Wisdom since his 1-for-21 start to the season.
In 11 games since then, Wisdom is 12-for-34 (.353) with three homers, five doubles, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs.
Suzuki, by the way, looked like the offensive catalyst for the Cubs’ second win in eight games until right-hander Mychal Givens blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth.
Suzuki, who saw a whopping 36 pitches in five plate appearances Wednesday, finished a 10-pitch at-bat in the third with a double off the left-field wall against tough veteran Charlie Morton.
That drove in Rafael Ortega for a 2-0 lead, and after a wild pitch, Suzuki scored on an Ian Happ sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Suzuki, who entered the game leading the league in on-base percentage and OPS, went 2-for-5.
Despite Givens’ two-out troubles in the eighth, the bullpen came up big again, working eight innings in relief of fifth-starter Mark Leiter Jr.
Bullpen workhorse stud Keegan Thompson did much of the heavy lifting, as he has in most of his five outings so far this season, pitching three innings — finally allowing his first run of the season on a two-out, RBI single by Travis d’Arnaud in his third inning of work — to get a 3-1 lead to the sixth.
In five outings this season (16 2/3 innings), Thompson has allowed one run (0.54 ERA) with 17 strikeouts and five walks allowed.