Maybe the Cubs ought to think about having a Willson Contreras bobblehead day more often.
On the day fans at Wrigley Field received a tiny plastic Contreras figurine, the Cubs catcher went BIG in real life in the first game of the 2018 Crosstown series.
Contreras hit a grand slam in the first inning, picked a runner off second base and then proceeded to hammer another homer and two doubles to finish with a career-high 7 RBI.
It's days like these why I was all aboard the Contreras MVP bandwagon before the season.
And it's weeks like these why so many people have valid arguments that Contreras is the best catcher in baseball right now.
Friday's performance in the Cubs' 11-2 victory over the White Sox was certainly legendary, but Contreras had a game to remember Wednesday, too, collected two triples and a double while scoring a pair of runs and driving in one.
He woke up Wednesday morning with a .230 batting average, .315 on-base percentage and .354 slugging percentage (.669 OPS). Two games later, he now boasts a .268/.343/.488 slash line with an .831 OPS.
Yes, over the course of just two games, Contreras raised his season OPS 162 full points.
He's also the only Cub ever to collect seven extra-base hits in a two-game span (research goes back to the 1913 season).
"I think we all knew it was coming," Friday's Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood said. "It was just a matter of time before he broke through a little bit."
Contreras can't point to anything specific behind his big game.
"I just think that it's part of the game," he said. "Baseball is one of ups and downs and it was just a matter of getting in the right rhythm. I think of the beginning of this year to that of last year, I'm not expecting myself to have the same start to every season, but it's just a matter of making adjustments necessary on the field."
Here are more mind-boggling facts on Contreras' monster game:
FanGraphs rated him as worth .4 WAR just for the one game:
Yo! Willson Contreras has been worth nearly 1/2 WAR today! pic.twitter.com/vCvMxrR6xu— Luis M. (@lcm1986) May 11, 2018
You'd have to go back to 2006 to find a game this good from any Cubs hitter:
Willson Contreras is the first Cubs player since Aramis Ramirez (9/18/06 vs. Phillies) to have a game with at least 4 hits and 7 RBIs.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 11, 2018
And he's the first Cub to do it at Wrigley Field in more than 30 years! Andre Dawson vs. the Astros on 6/2/87.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 11, 2018
And how about this?— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 11, 2018
The last catcher before Contreras to put together a game with at least 4 XBH and 7 RBIs was ... Mike Piazza on Aug. 27, 1995.
It might be the best Crosstown performance ever:
Willson Contreras is just the 4th NL player in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) and the first since 1999 with multiple doubles AND home runs and 7+ RBI in a game (@ESPNStatsInfo)— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 11, 2018
So what led to such an explosive game from the Cubs catcher?
"He's just good," Joe Maddon said. "When a guy's good, if he's not hurt, I think he's eventually gonna show up. You know how hard he is on himself. He's getting the ball on the barrel. ... I just think it was a matter of time."
So it had nothing to do with his bobblehead?
"You know what? I didn't even realize that," Maddon joked, "but more than anything I just said, that's absolutely correct. It had everything to do with the bobblehead."