Cubs

Kris Bryant silenced his doubters in a way only he can

Cubs

Kris Bryant's redemption is best served cold and rainy.

It's been such a trying season for the former NL MVP, dealing with a left shoulder injury and now a left wrist contusion that has robbed him of nearly 60 games this year and affected his swing even when he is on the field.

After missing a game over the weekend to let his shoulder rest, Bryant was plunked on the left hand/wrist by a Chris Archer fastball Tuesday night. He eventually came out of that game and missed the next two nights before finding his name back in the starting lineup Friday afternoon against the Cardinals.

In his first at-bat, Bryant got fooled badly, striking out against Adam Wainwright on three pitches, including a curveball that missed the zone by a good foot-and-a-half.

It's not often you see Bryant chase at something that far out of the zone or look that silly.

But he got his revenge.

The next time up, Wainwright started Bryant off with a first-pitch curveball that missed the zone, came back with a fastball for a strike and then tried his hand with Uncle Charlie again.

This time, Wainwright left the ball over the heart of the plate and Bryant did not miss it one bit.

The Cubs star hammered it off the top of the batter's eye in center field for a 448-foot solo homer - a rocket that came off the bat at 108 mph.

"It felt good," Bryant said. "I mean, to make an adjustment, from my first at-bat, having a really bad at-bat and then make an adjustment. I feel like that's the most satisfying thing you can have in this game.

 

"He made me look foolish the first time and I did something between that at-bat to the next one and something clicked. So that's very satisfying."

It was only Bryant's second homer since July 20 and fifth dinger since May 14.

Before he injured his shoulder on a slide in mid-May, Bryant was actually off to one of the best starts of his career, hitting .281/.415/.586 (1.001 OPS) with 8 homers and 21 RBI in 34 games. He also struck out just 24 times vs. 21 walks.

Since then, he's struck out 81 times in 65 games.

One home run isn't enough to make any bold declarations that "Kris Bryant is back!" But it was certainly a decisive shot and any way the Cubs can get contributions offensively right now they'll take it.

If Bryant can somehow start finding his groove again, that would do wonders for this lineup with October just two days away.

The shoulder issue will still be there for Bryant, but the wrist/hand doesn't seem to be a major factor moving forward.

"[It feels] good," he said. "I'm very lucky, I think. That was probably one of the worst hit-by-pitches I've had in my whole life. It's scary.

"I don't know how we don't end up breaking bones in our hand every time we get hit in the hand because it's so fragile. It kinda got me in the meat of the hand. But it feels good, especially hitting the home run."