With so many young, talented players on this Cubs team it’s sometimes hard to figure out which one deserves our attention. Of course, that usually works itself out by whoever does something big the night before. And in the case of last night’s game, that player was Willson Contreras.
The Cubs had only two hits and were trailing 3-1 heading into the sixth inning last night. Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist hit back-to-back singles with one out. Jason Heyward singled to drive in Rizzo and advance Zobrist to second base. Phillies manager, Pete Mackanin, had seen enough and made the decision to bring in lefty Joely Rodriguez. A predictable move with lefty Miguel Montero on deck.
Joe Maddon countered the move by bringing in Willson Contreras to pinch hit for Montero. Contreras responded by drilling a shot down the left field line, emptying the bases to give the Cubs a one run lead. But Willco wasn’t done there.
When Matt Szczur hit a sharp grounder to Phillies’ shortstop, Freddy Galvis, Willson Contreras took off at full speed from second base. He rounded third and powered towards home plate, never hesitating. The aggressive baserunning seemed to catch Galvis off guard, as he stood and hesitated to throw the ball as if in disbelief of what he was watching unfold.
? Willson’s Big Adventure:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 4, 2017
Willson’s aggressive baserunning, and one heck of a swim slide to beat the tag, ended up being the deciding run as the Cubs went on to win the game by the score of 5-4 (recap here).
The best thing about last night’s game, apart from the obvious, is that Willson is just getting started. For the season he’s slashing .243/.317/.392. Last year he finished with a slash line of .282/.357/.488, which tells me that he’s got a bunch more head-turning plays to make as his numbers invariably start to tick up.
We all know how valuable Willson is defensively behind the plate, but in case you need a reminder, here you go.
And to think, some people actually have to stand up to throw darts. Not Willson Contreras. pic.twitter.com/kH1RYcMzu6
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) May 2, 2017
It’s only a matter of time before Contreras starts to become more comfortable on the offensive side of things and perhaps the warmer weather will be the catalyst. Once he starts to hit his stride, well, consider this the final warning to his opponents.