Cubs help prove hitting is contagious with another blowout win
One of the Cubs' favorite phrases in the early weeks of the season was, "Hitting is contagious."
Maybe that's just a silly phrase any team would use when it's in a "worst start in the history of baseball" type of hitting slump. But then the Cubs went out and proved it may actually be true.
They pounded Milwaukee 15-2 on Friday at Wrigley Field for their fourth straight win. In a span of six games, the Cubs (10-9) have scored 13, 16 and 15 runs, against three different teams.
"It's been rewarding, because I see these guys work," manager David Ross said. "I'm happy for them. I'm extremely happy to see the hard work pay off. That's a great thing to see from this seat."
The hit parade included nine for extra bases. Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning, then Jake Marisnick and Willson Contreras tacked on homers later in the game.
Marisnick had a 3-run double in the first inning and finished with 5 RBI. By going 3-for-4 with a double, Kris Bryant has given the Cubs an actual .300 hitter. In his first start of the season, Nico Hoerner went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles.
So what is it that makes hitting contagious?
"It's a little prideful thing," Marisnick said. "You've got your teammates out there grinding out at-bats, fouling off balls and taking walks. In your head, you say, 'Hey, I'm going to do the same thing,' I don't want to let these guys down. I think once you get that component going, you feel it going throughout the lineup. You don't want to be the one guys who's making outs."
Rizzo, who went 2-for-4 and doubled in the first inning, added his own thoughts on the topic.
"I just think that's the way this game goes," he said. "It's kind of a tale as old as time. The old-school philosophies work and they're never going to go away and that's one of them. It's just that contagious energy."
With his home run, Rizzo broke a tie with Gabby Hartnett and moved into seventh place on the Cubs' all-time home run list with 231.
"It's really amazing," Rizzo said. "This is a historic franchise. To be seventh, it's crazy. I want to look at the names ahead of me, but I know a few of them. It's special. Playing here and having the fans back and playing in front of them, you appreciate being here every single day at Wrigley Field."
Here's some help: The six players ahead of Rizzo on the list are Sammy Sosa, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg and Aramis Ramirez.
Kyle Hendricks collected his 10th career victory over the Brewers, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs over 6 innings. He had one of the worst outings of his career last time out against Atlanta.
"I feel 100% healthy, 100% good, ready to go now," Hendricks said. "It was good getting my pitch count up over 90 now, six innings out there. Just have to keep being aggressive, keep coming at guys, getting ahead in counts. I was able to work on a lot of things today, just because we swung it so good."