Baez' defense helps Cubs pitchers quiet Marlins

  • Cubs shortstop Javy Baez pulled off a magical play in Sunday's win over Miami at Wrigley Field.

    Cubs shortstop Javy Baez pulled off a magical play in Sunday's win over Miami at Wrigley Field. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/21/2021 12:36 PM

When Alec Mills' postgame Zoom news conference began with a question about Javy Baez' defense, he appreciated the chance to give credit where credit is due.

"I'm glad you brought that up first. That's what I was going to say," Mills said. "The defense today, Javy made a couple of jaw-dropping plays. I don't think we should ever be surprised, but that was unbelievable. That was a game-changer for me."

 

The main highlight happened in the second inning. With two outs and a runner on first, Marlins third baseman Jon Berti rifled a bouncer into the hole. Baez got horizontal like Dennis Rodman diving after a loose ball to make the snag, then quickly pivoted and forced the runner at second base as Berti dropped his helmet in disbelief.

"It's actually hard because you never know how far you're going to slide," Baez said. "Sometimes you dive into the grass and you keep sliding and you can't get up. Today was a busy day playing defense, which I love. I was just ready for the ball to come to me."

Baez had another nice play later in the game when he threw out Marlins leadoff man Jazz Chisolm on a grounder up the middle.

This has been a rough season for Baez. He's been sidelined by back and thumb injuries, and he ranks second in MLB with 13 errors, despite all the amazing plays.

"My thumb is not 100%. I don't mind playing sore. I'm really used to it," Baez said. "I'm almost 100% and it's normal. My thumb, it's a little jammed up, but I don't worry about it. If I get jammed again, I'll probably take another day or so and see how it goes, but I feel good right now."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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