Cubs

Contreras uplifts Cubs, Morel in skid-ending win

Cubs

When Christopher Morel took a ball in the dirt to draw the count even at 2-2, he turned toward the Cubs’ on-deck circle.

Morel was greeted by a clapping Willson Contreras, who directed some words of encouragement to the Cubs rookie sensation.

“Being that young in baseball, it's not easy,” Contreras said. “I was trying to give him a vote of confidence by saying a lot of things out there.”

Morel briefly closed his eyes and took a deep breath, reminding of a viral moment between him and Contreras from earlier this month — when the Cubs catcher reminded Morel to breathe at the plate and the rookie then immediately hit a walk-off sac fly.

And, like that moment, Morel instantly delivered after Contreras’ encouragement. He hit the next pitch from A.J. Minter just deep enough to center field to score Jonathan Villar.

It was the decisive run in a 1-0 win that snapped the Cubs' 10-game losing streak.

“It helped me a lot,” Morel said of Contreras rallying him. “It really helped me concentrate on what I needed to focus on in that at-bat, with that tough lefty up there."

Contreras has taken Morel under his wing since the Cubs called him up from Double-A Tennessee last month. He shared he told Morel earlier Friday the importance of maintaining a good attitude through the good and bad times.

Up to that eighth-inning plate appearance, Morel had gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Braves starter Charlie Morton, who he called “one of the best pitchers” he’s faced in his life.

 

Morel swung at two cutters out of the zone to go down 0-2 vs. Minter before battling back to a 2-2 count and then lifting the sac fly.

“It was key, it was just great timing, focusing on what I needed to do," Morel said of Contreras' message.

The Cubs are in the midst of a losing season and entered Friday on a 10-game losing streak.

Along with Morel, Contreras has tried to uplift the Cubs through these challenging times through his energy and positive attitude. 

“I don’t want to put the cameras on me because I'm saying it. I’m just trying to lift this team up because losing sucks,” said Contreras, echoing a mentality he shared during a rough Cubs stretch earlier this season. 

“I know that losing sucks, but the only thing that can change is your attitude," Contreras added. "If you’re having a bad day but your attitude is right on point, you’re going to end up having a good day like we did today. 

“It's not about me, it’s about the Cubs. It's about this team and I love my team.”

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