Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
Rockin’ my peers
Puttin’ suckers in fear
Makin’ the tears rain down like a monsoon
Listen to the bat go boom
Over the competition I’m towerin’
Wrecking shop when I drop these swim moves
That’ll make you call the cops
Don’t you dare stare, you better move
Don’t ever compare
Me to the rest that’ll all get sliced and diced
Competition’s payin’ the price
Javy Baez may rock a baseball cap instead of a Kangol, but he’s got the gold chains and sweats swag just like James Todd Smith in his prime. And there he was Saturday afternoon, knocking the Reds out with a 4-for-5 performance that raised his season slash to .294/.327/.565 with a 132 wRC+ that is 34 points higher than his career high of 98 set last season.
He also added to a 2.8 WAR total that was already half a win higher than last season, and in just a little more than half as many games as last season. That’s, uh, that’s really solid. Javy’s been so damn good and so damn smooth that he could walk down Clark Street with a panther and people wouldn’t even notice because they’d be to busy fawning over Javy.
With the Cubs down 7-3, Javy led off the 7th inning with a homer and upped the amplitude on a heartbeat that had remained faint since spotting the Reds two runs in the opening frame. When he came up the next time, that deficit was down to just one and Javy hit a comebacker that was ruled a single after pitcher Jared Hughes couldn’t handle it.
Hughes himself called it an error and maybe it was, but does it really matter? No, it doesn’t. The Cubs scored the game-tying run on the play and would go ahead three pitches later when Anthony Rizzo grounded out to second. Javy was in the middle of the action once again and he made things happen once again.
“That’s what we do, we fight to the end,” Javy said after the game. “We’ve been coming back since 2016, we’ve been doing this. We just have to realize who we have in our lineup. It doesn’t matter how many runs we’re down. I think we can do a lot of damage if we turn the page to the next guy.”
With all due respect to Rizzo, the next guy in this case was really Ben Zobrist. Not in terms of the order, though, since Zobrist was the leadoff man. But if there’s a second fiddle in this one, it’s the 37-year-old switch hitter who’s nearly a dozen years Javy’s senior. Hampered by a nagging wrist injury last season, Zo seemed to be at least that far past his prime for a while.
Looking like more or less a zombie version of himself, I’d basically left Zobrist for (un)dead heading into this season. And I doubt I was alone, though the most awkward-looking professional athlete this side of Mark Madsen was having none of it.
I ain’t with that
You can forget that
You took my style
I’m takin’ it back
Comin’ back, like Return of the Jedi
Sucker EIC’s in the place that said I
Could only rock rhymes
And only rock crowds
But never rock records
How you like me now?
This actually sells Zobrist a little short, as he can also rock PF Flyer cleats and whatever interesting outfits his wife picks out for him. Oh, and he can rock the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of a sinker. His bases-loaded double in the 8th inning got the Cubs to within one run and set the stage for Javy and Rizzo.
Zobrist is slashing .296/.389/.430, he walks more than he strikes out, and he’s offering solid defense at multiple positions. Dude just goes to work and it’s incredible to watch. You know he’s going to put together a professional plate appearance every time up, and it feels as though he’s got an uncanny ability to deliver the big hit.
Javy and Zo, fueling the team. What a trip.
I should probably go on and cite stats or dig into more situational information on either or both of these players to really bring this thing home, but I’m so tired I can’t think straight. Besides, I’ve already cited a pair of dope-ass songs for you. So maybe just bask in what these guys are doing and get ready for a lot more to come.